SNL’s Thompson Admits Skit Mocking Veteran ‘Definitely Missed the Mark’

On NBC’s Today show on Monday, Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson acknowledged that fellow cast member Pete Davidson “definitely missed the mark” when he mocked Republican congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw’s appearance, a former Navy S.E.A.L. who lost his eye during combat in Afghanistan.

Thompson was appearing on the morning show to promote a new movie when co-host Craig Melvin asked: “While we have you here, I do want to ask you though, about over the weekend. As you know, your cast mate, Pete Davidson, he’s caught a fair amount of flak for the comment that he made.”

 

 

After Thompson initially joked that he was “not aware” of the controversy, Melvin pressed: “Did the joke cross the line?” Thompson agreed that it had: “It seems it, yeah. It definitely seems it. I mean, my father’s a veteran, you know, Vietnam. And I personally would never necessarily go there.”

Thompson briefly attempted to explain Davidson’s tasteless “joke”: “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.” However, he then concluded: “But at the same time, when you miss the mark, you’re offending people. So you have to kind of like really be a little more aware, in my opinion.”

Melvin followed up: “He missed the mark.” Thompson again agreed: “Yeah, he definitely missed the mark.” Though he still partially defended Davidson as a “humble dude” with a “big heart” who’s attempt a humor had “an unfortunate outcome.”

Minutes earlier on the broadcast, co-host Hoda Kotb offered a seconds-long news brief on the controversy:

Meantime, Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson is facing backlash over a joke about a congressional candidate. During the Weekend Update segment, Davidson was mocking candidates based entirely on their appearances, that include Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican who lost an eye serving with the Navy S.E.A.L.s in Afghanistan.

After a clip ran of the offensive skit, Kotb noted: “So, Crenshaw tweeted, ‘I hope @NBCSNL recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes.’” She added: “Both Davison and SNL declined to comment.”

On Monday, Media Research Center president Brent Bozell blasted the “pathetic” SNL for reaching a “new low” by mocking the wounded veteran.

Here is a transcript of Melvin’s November 5 exchange with Thompson:

8:19 AM ET

(...)

CRAIG MELVIN: While we have you here, I do want to ask you though, about over the weekend. As you know, your cast mate, Pete Davidson, he’s caught a fair amount of flak for the comment that he made.

KENAN THOMPSON: You’re kidding. What happened? I’m not aware. [Laughter]

MELVIN: Yeah, I think you probably heard. He’s running for Congress down in Texas and he lost an eye in Afghanistan, one of three tours.

THOMPSON: Pete did? [Laughter]

MELVIN: Pete did? No, no, Pete was joking about Dan Crenshaw, he’s getting a lot of flak.

THOMPSON: Yeah, no, I’m aware.

MELVIN: Did the joke cross the line?

THOMPSON: It seems it, yeah. It definitely seems it. I mean, my father’s a veteran, you know, 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 you know, we try to respect that. But at the same time, when you miss the mark, you’re offending people. So you have to kind of like really be a little more aware, in my opinion. You know what I’m saying? That’s all I can say on that.

MELVIN: He missed the mark.

THOMPSON: Yeah, he definitely missed the mark. 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.” You know what I mean? I think Pete’s a very, you know, humble dude and he’s got a big heart and I don’t think he goes out to offend people. You what I mean? But stand-ups are very like – they’re the ones that help us laugh through the most awful things in the first place, so they’re always fishing in weird places. That was an unfortunate outcome.

(...)

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