Saturday Night Live is no stranger to politics or controversy. Throughout its decades-long run on NBC, the show has continuously pursued political humor at the knife-edge of decency — a methodology born of its young rotating cast and need to stay relevant in an ever-changing media environment.
Sometimes, however, that drive to inject humor into America’s fiercely divided politics misses the mark entirely. No one would likely accuse Saturday Night Live of offering an objective or even-handed approach to the political parties, of course — especially since the 2016 presidential election — but one cast member earned the ire of veterans groups in particular two weeks ago when he made a joke at the expense of then congressional candidate and former Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw. Davidson joked that Crenshaw looked like “a hitman in a porno movie” thanks to the eye patch the veteran wears since losing his eye in combat in 2012.
Davidson then qualified his joke by saying, “I’m sorry, I know he lost it in a war or whatever.”
Many saw both the joke and his insincere apology as insensitive to veterans, disrespectful to Crenshaw, and indicative of the detachment young Americans feel toward the men and women who have been engaged in combat operations for the better part of two decades. Many other veterans, however, either stood by Davidson — who lost his firefighter father in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 — or simply dismissed the ensuing social media pandemonium as a silly bit of outrage culture.
SNL opted to engage the issue directly this past week, inviting now-Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw to appear on the show and receive an apology from Davidson in person. Crenshaw even got the opportunity to deliver a few (clearly pre-written) cracks of his own.
“In what I’m sure was a huge shock to people who know me, I made a poor choice last week,” Davidson opened to laughs from the audience. “I made a joke about Lieutenant Commander Dan Crenshaw and on behalf of the show and myself, I apologize.”
“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. And if anything good came from this, maybe it was that for one day, the Left and the Right finally came together to agree on something — that I’m a dick.” He went on after cracking a joke about being his mom’s roommate.
At that point, Crenshaw joined Davidson at the desk.
Watch the rest of the skit below: