“Saturday Night Live” can be sharp, satirical and even irreverent. The show, though, isn’t generally apologetic. That’s what made a segment from Saturday’s “Weekend Update” so shocking: Pete Davidson apologized in person to Dan Crenshaw, the former Navy SEAL and newly elected Republican representative from Texas’s 2nd Congressional District, for a joke he made on last week’s show.
Some quick context: Davidson appeared on “Weekend Update” last week and offered some thoughts on various politicians, based on appearance alone. He targeted Crenshaw, who wears an eye patch: “You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hit man in a porno movie.” As the audience laughed, Davidson added, “I’m sorry; I know he lost his eye in war or whatever.”
Many from both sides of the aisle demanded an apology on behalf of veterans, including Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Jack Pandol, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Crenshaw, who spoke to The Washington Post’s Dan Zak about his journey to the political sphere, said he wasn’t offended, but that he was disappointed the joke was lame and unfunny.
Davidson remained quiet — until Saturday.
Dressed in a salmon-colored hoodie, a shyly smiling Davidson slid over to the “Weekend Update” desk and said, “So, umm, in what I’m sure was a huge shock for people who know me, I made a poor choice last week.”
“I made a joke about Lieutenant Commander Dan Crenshaw, and on behalf of the show and myself, I apologize,” he said. “My poor mom. Can you imagine being my mom? That must suck. Can you imagine being Pete Davidson’s mom? It can’t be easy when everyone’s mad at your son and roommate.” (Davidson recently moved back in with his mother following the highly publicized dissolution of his engagement to pop star Ariana Grande.)
“I mean this from the bottom of my heart. It was a poor choice of words. The man is a war hero and he deserves all the respect in the world,” Davidson said. “And if any good came from this, maybe it’s that for one day, the left and the right finally came together to agree on something: That I’m a d---.”
Then, in one of the more shocking moments in modern SNL history, Crenshaw slid into the frame and said, “You?”
The audience went nuts. As Davidson thanked him for coming, Crenshaw thanked him “for making a Republican look good.”
Davidson then offered another apology, this time in person: “For people who don’t know, the reason you’re wearing an eye patch right now is that you lost your eye to an IED in Afghanistan during your third combat tour, and I’m sorry."
Then came an awkward moment. As Crenshaw accepted the apology, his cellphone started to ring. His ringtone? “Breathin',” by none other than Grande.
“Ariana Grande,” laughed Davidson.
“Oh, do you know her?” Crenshaw replied.
Crenshaw then flipped the script by making a few jokes about Davidon’s appearance, referencing to a few photos:
- “This is Pete Davidson. He looks like if the meth from ‘Breaking Bad’ was a person.”
- “He looks like a Troll doll with a tapeworm.”
- “Pete looks like Martin Short in ‘The Santa Clause 3.' By the way, one of these people was actually good on SNL.”
Then, Crenshaw grew serious.
“There’s a lot of lessons to learn here. Not just that the left and right can still agree on some things, but also this: Americans can forgive one another. We can remember what brings us together as a country and still see the good in each other,” he said. He added that it’s Veterans Day weekend, “which means it’s a good time for every American to connect with a veteran. Maybe say, ‘Thanks for your service.' But I would actually encourage you to say something else. Tell a veteran, ‘Never forget.’”
“When you say ‘never forget’ to a veteran, you are implying that, as an American, you are in it with them, not separated by some imaginary barrier between civilians and veterans, but connected together as grateful fellow Americans,” he added. " . . . And never forget those we lost on 9/11 — heroes like Pete’s father,” a firefighter who died in the World Trade Center. “So I’ll just say: Pete, Never forget.”
“Never forget,” Davidson replied, “and that is from both of us!”
If Davidson was seeking a kinder reaction than the one he received last week, he certainly received it. One Twitter user summed up the general reaction: “Good for everybody involved.”