One joke from the latest installment of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” has been at the center of a firestorm of controversy since the program aired.
USA Today reports that some observers are calling for the firing of both “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels and cast member Pete Davidson, who critics say crossed the line during a bit in which he gave his “first impressions” of a number of “gross” candidates running in this week’s midterm elections.
One of the targets of the bit was Texas politician Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who wears an eye patch after losing an eye in combat.
“You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie,” Davidson said as a photo of Crenshaw appeared on the screen. Davidson added: “I’m sorry — I know he lost his eye in war or whatever.”
Crenshaw was among those reacting to the joke. He sent out a tweet Sunday saying: “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.”
Veteran “SNL” cast member Kenan Thompson also offered criticism of the joke. In an appearance this morning on NBC’s “Today” show, Thompson was asked whether the joke crossed the line and said, “It definitely seems it.” He added that Davidson “definitely missed the mark.”
Thompson also said of Davidson: “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 stand-ups, they’re the ones that help us laugh through the most awful things in the first place.
“They’re always fishing in weird places, and that was an unfortunate outcome.”
Here’s the segment from “SNL” featuring Davidson mocking a number of candidates, posted by NBC …
Here’s a clip of Thompson’s appearance this morning on NBC’s “Today” — the discussion of the controversial joke begins at about the 1:08 mark …