Saturday Night Live cast member Kenan Thompson said Monday that a joke told by colleague Peter Davidson about former Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw definitely “missed the mark.”
“You know my father’s a veteran, Vietnam, and I personally would never necessarily go there, but it’s tough when you’re fishing for jokes,” Thompson told NBC News anchor Craig Melvin. “That’s how stand-ups feel, like there’s no real filters out there in the world when they try to go for a great joke or whatever. You know we try to respect that, but at the same time, when you miss the mark, you’re offending people.”
Davidson was met with a firestorm of criticism after referring to Republican Texas candidate Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy Seal who wears an eyepatch due to losing an eye fighting in Afghanistan, as a “hitman in a porn movie.”
“You may be surprised to hear that he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie,” Davidson joked during the NBC sketch comedy show’s “Weekend Update” skit.
“I’m sorry. I know he lost his eye in war or whatever,” added Davidson as he fought back laughter.
“He definitely missed the mark,” Thompson said of his co-star. “And 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.'”
“I think Pete’s a very humble dude, he’s got a big heart, I don’t think he goes out to offend people,” Thompson added.
“Standups are very — they’re the ones that help us laugh through the most awful things in the first place,” he continued. “So they’re always fishing in weird places. That was an unfortunate outcome.”
Crenshaw, who is running against Democrat Todd Litton in Texas’ 2nd Congressional District, responded to the joke, tweeting Sunday: “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.”
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.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) November 4, 2018
In a Monday morning interview with CNN, Crenshaw reiterated he did not want an apology, suggesting instead for NBC and Davidson to donate money to a veterans charity. “I think what him and maybe the producers at SNL should do is pool their money together. Let’s throw a figure out there, $1 million, and we will donate that to a series of veterans nonprofits that helps veterans,” Crenshaw told New Day anchor Alisyn Camerota.