"I think Pete's a very humble dude. He has a big heart. I don't think he goes out to offend people," the "SNL" star says on "Today."
Kenan Thompson thinks his "Saturday Night Live" co-star Pete Davidson "missed the mark" with this joke about former Navy SEAL and Republican congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw's physical appearance during "Weekend Update" this weekend.
The "SNL" star was appearing on NBC's "Today" show Monday morning when he was asked if Davidson "crossed the line" while making fun of a veteran who lost his eye in war.
"It seems, yeah. It definitely seems it," he said. "I mean my father was a veteran, you know Vietnam, and I personally wouldn’t never necessarily go there."
In case you missed the Jonah Hill-hosted episode -- which you can catch up on in its entirety here -- Davidson appeared alongside Michael Che to give his "first impressions" of candidates running in the Midterm Elections that unfold across the country on Tuesday.
"This guy’s kinda cool, Dan Crenshaw. You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas, and not a hitman from a porno movie," Davidson joked, with a picture of Crenshaw, who has an eye patch. "I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever."
Thompson specializes in improv and sketch comedy, while Davidson's preferred venue for comedy is stand-up, which Thompson referenced in the rest of his response to the controversy firing up politicians and media personalities on across the political spectrum.
"But it’s tough when you’re fishing for jokes. That’s how stand-ups feel, there's no real filters out there in the world when they’re trying to go for a great joke or whatever," Thompson explained. "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 be a little more aware in my opinion, you know what I’m saying? Yeah, he definitely missed the mark."
"I think he was more so commenting on the joke didn’t land where he wanted it too as opposed to being like, 'I don’t care about veterans,'" Davidson explained. "I think Pete's a very humble dude. He has a big heart. I don't think he goes out to offend people. But stand-ups are the ones who help us laugh through the most awful things in the first place so always fishing in weird places, but that was an unfortunate outcome."
Despite the outrage from both sides of the aisle, Crenshaw doesn't want an apology from Davidson, because he's tired of Americans being so sensitive.
"I want us to get away from this culture where we demand an apology every time someone misspeaks," Crenshaw told TMZ. "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, you know. They are feeling the heat from around the country right now and that’s fine."
He did, however, agree with critics that Davidson's joke wasn't even funny, "just mean-spirited," and said he wants the comedian to recognize "veterans across the country probably don’t feel as though their wounds [that] they received in battle should be the subject of a bad punch line."
Crenshaw was not the only candidate who got roasted by Davidson on looks alone during the "Weekend Update" bit.
He made fun of other Republicans, as well as New York's Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.
"Here's a democrat so I look fair. Gimme that Cuomo guy," he said to cue up the insult he had prepared. "He looks like a guy that’s sleeping with your mom but stays over night and eats breakfast with you in his boxers. And then he asks you how the baseball’s goin', and then you say, you don’t play baseball. And he goes, 'Oh. Queer.' ... It’s just the vibe I’m getting."