While much of the attention surrounding Pete Davidson’s “Weekend Update” appearance on this week’s edition of Global‘s “Saturday Night Live” revolved around his comments about ex-fiancee Ariana Grande, another part of his segment has erupted in controversy.
During the bit, the “SNL” cast member delivered his “first impressions” of various candidates in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections, based solely on their photographs.
Spoiler alert: none of Davidson’s descriptions were particularly flattering, such as his declaration that Florida Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott “looks like someone tried to whittle Bruce Willis out of a penis.”
However, there are some who think that Davidson crossed the line when he spoke about Republican congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye while serving in Afghanistan in 2012.
“This guy’s kinda cool, Dan Crenshaw,” quipped Davidson, as “Weekend Update” co-anchor Michael Che chuckled and jokingly warned, “Come on, man.”
Continued Davidson: “You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas, and not a hit man in a porno movie.”
He added, laughing, “I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever. Whatever.”
Davidson’s segment begins at the 4:20 mark in the video below:
On Sunday, the National Republican Congressional Committee issued a statement demanding an apology from Davidson and the show.
“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,” said NRCC spokesman Jack Pandol in the statement.
Also slamming Davidson was another candidate Davidson mocked: New York Rep. Pete King, whom the 24-year-old comedian described as looking like “a cigar came to life.”
On Monday, Davidson’s fellow “Saturday Night Live” comedian Kenan Thompson told “Today” that his joke did come off as offensive.
“When you miss the mark, you’re offending people, so you have to really be a little more aware, in my opinion,” he said.
Addressing Davidson’s intentions, he added, “I think Pete’s a very humble dude and he’s got a big heart. I don’t think he goes out to offend people, but standups, 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.”
Crenshaw responded to the controversy. He insisted there was no need for an apology but called the joke “not original” and “mean-spirited.”
Neither Davidson nor “SNL” has yet to respond.