Kenan Thompson Weighs in on Pete Davidson's Controversial 'SNL' Joke: 'He Missed the Mark'

Saturday Night Live cast member Kenan Thompson joined the voices saying Pete Davidson went too far with his recent joke on the comedy show about a wounded veteran running for office.

Davidson received severe backlash for his joke about his "first impression" of 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 "Weekend Update" segment of SNL this weekend. After laughter from the audience was awkward, Davidson added, "I'm sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever. Whatever."

Thomspon, who is the most senior member of the current SNL cast, said on the Today show Monday that the joke crossed the line.

"It definitely seems [as if Davidson crossed the line]," Thomspon said. "My father's a veteran — Vietnam — and I personally would never necessarily go there, but it's tough when you're fishing for jokes. 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."

"He definitely missed the mark," Thompson continued. "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.'"

Crenshaw said he tries not to be offended but that the joke was in poor 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 Sunday.

Although many of Crenshaw's supporters have called for an on-air apology, the Congressional candidate also told TMZ that there is no apology needed.

"I wanted to get away from this culture where we demand apologies every time someone misspeaks," Crenshaw said in the clip. "I think that would be very healthy for our nation... to go in that direction. We don't need to be outwardly outraged. I don't need to demand apologies from them. They can do whatever they want. They're feeling the heat from around the country right now and that's fine."

However, Crenshaw did offer some advice to Davidson.

"I would like him and Saturday Night Live to recognize something, which is that veterans across the country probably don't feel as though their wounds they received in battle should be a bad punchline for a bad joke. And here's the real atrocity from all this: It wasn't even funny. It wasn't original. It was not funny. It was just mean-spirited and that's how I feel about it."

Crenshaw was deployed overseas five times as a member of SEAL Team Three, according to his website. He lost his eye during his third deployment. Doctors first believed he was completely blind, but he regained his eyesight in his remaining eye and was deployed two more times.

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Jack Pandol was one of the many who called for Davidson and NBC to apologize.

"Getting dumped by your pop star girlfriend is no excuse for lashing out at a decorated war hero who lost his eye serving our country," Pandol said, referencing Davidson's recent breakup from Ariana Grande. "Pete Davidson and NBC should immediately apologize to Dan, and to the millions of veterans and military families who tune in every weekend – because they're not laughing."


Todd Litton, Crenshaw's Democratic opponent, also said Crenshaw's service should not be joked about.

"No matter what side of the aisle you're on, Dan's military service and sacrifice for our country are to be admired and appreciated. Period," Litton wrote on Twitter.