Not everyone watching “Saturday Night Live” last weekend found Pete Davidson’s “first impression” of wounded veteran and congressional hopeful Dan Crenshaw funny — including Dan Crenshaw. Though the Republican politician suggested to CNN Monday the remark could be rectified if Davidson and the “SNL” producers donated $1 million to veterans’ organizations.
“The first part of that skit was just strange … The second part, I think, is when it just became dark,” Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who is running for Congress in Texas’ 2nd district, told CNN on Monday.
“We have thick skin, but as veterans, it’s hard for us to understand why war wounds would elicit such raucous laughter from an audience,” the Republican candidate said, adding, “I think they should’ve rethought that joke a little bit — if you can even call it a joke.”
Here is the joke in question, which Davidson told while giving his “First Impression” of several congressional candidates to “Weekend Update” co-anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost:
“This guy is kinda cool, Dan Crenshaw. You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas, and not a hit man in a porno movie. I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever.”
Crenshaw told CNN he will not “demand an apology,” though Davidson “probably should apologize.” “I don’t want some hollow apology,” he said. But he did have an idea for how Davidson and “SNL” could make amends.
“I think what [Davidson] 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 non-profits that helps veterans,” Crenshaw said.
“I don’t know that Pete Davidson has a million dollars,” the CNN anchor replied.
Meanwhile, Davidson’s “SNL” castmate Kenan Thompson addressed the joke during a sit down on the “Today” show Monday.
“[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.”
Thompson told “Today” it “definitely seems” like Davidson crossed a line: “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 standups 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.”
“I think Pete’s a very humble dude and he’s got a big heart and I don’t think he goes out to offend people, but stand-ups, they’re the ones who help us laugh through the most awful things in the first place so they’re always fishing in weird places and that was an unfortunate outcome,” Thompson added.
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called out both Davidson and “SNL” boss Lorne Michaels, saying the latter should be fired by NBC for allowing the joke in the first place, tweeting Monday:
Saturday Night Live mocked the appearance of a combat veteran that lost an eye on the battlefield. This was not funny in any way. They scripted it, rehearsed it, laughed at it, aired it and promoted it. VSOs should demand @nbcsnl head Lorne Michaels he fired #FireLorneMichaels
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) November 5, 2018
NBC declined TheWrap‘s request for comment on this story. A representative for Davidson did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.