Kenan Thompson Says Pete Davidson Went Too Far With Wounded Veteran Joke
"I personally would never necessarily go there, but it's tough when you're fishing for jokes," he said in part.
Kenan Thompson on Monday said he felt his Saturday Night Live castmate Pete Davidson went too far with a recent joke on the show about a wounded veteran running for office.
Davidson received severe backlash after his quip during an appearance on this Saturday's "Weekend Update," when he spoke about the upcoming midterm elections and offered his "first impressions" of several candidates — including Dan Crenshaw, a Republican candidate for Congress and a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye in an IED blast while serving in Afghanistan in 2012.
"You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate in Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie," Davidson said on the segment, laughing. "I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever. Whatever.”
Thompson — the most senior member of the current SNL cast — said on NBC's Today show on Monday morning that the one-liner was too much.
“He [Davidson] definitely missed the mark," Thompson said. "I think he was more so commenting on the fact that the joke maybe didn't land as hard as he wanted to as opposed to being like I don't care about veterans.”
Asked if Davidson crossed the line, Thompson replied, “It definitely seems it. My father's a veteran, Vietnam, and I personally would never necessarily go there, but it's tough when you're fishing for jokes — like that's how stand-ups feel like there's no real filters out there in the world when they're trying to go for a great joke or whatever and we try to respect that but at the same time, when you miss the mark, you're offending people so you have to really be a little more aware in my opinion.”
Supporters of Crenshaw have demanded Davidson apologize on air.
Crenshaw said he tries not to be offended, but the joke was in bad taste.
"Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes," he tweeted on Monday.
During a later interview on CNN, Crenshaw said he did not "demand" an apology from anyone, but he did call on Davidson and SNL brass to make a $1 million donation benefiting veterans, who “feel laughed at.”
“I think what him and maybe the producers at SNL should do is pool their money together, let’s throw a figure out there — a million dollars — and we will donate that to a series of veterans nonprofits that helps veterans,” he said. “There’s a lot of great organizations out there. There’s a lot of veterans that really need help, and frankly, this kind of thing is offensive to them.”