Opinion: Pete Davidson apologizes on Saturday Night Live


By Katie Athey , RT+ Executive Producer

“If any good came of this, maybe it was that for one day the left and the right finally came together to agree on something,” joked comedian Pete Davidson on Saturday Night Live’s Nov. 10 show. A week prior, Davidson was seen poking fun at retired Navy SEAL and congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw, comparing Crenshaw to a pirate.

Crenshaw wears an eye patch over his right eye due to injuries from an IED explosion in Afghanistan during his third combat tour. With a poor use of judgement, Davidson mocked the former lieutenant commander as a misguided bit on the show’s popular Weekend Update segment.

Davidson was not kidding when he said the left and right were finally able to agree on something. If you would have taken a popularity poll of Pete Davidson for the following week, the overwhelming majority would agree he was out of line and had no excuse to mock an American war hero. Even I, a Pete Davidson fanatic, would tell you it was out of line and disrespectful.

But what came to follow in this sequence of events would surprise most viewers of the late night comedy show. The next week Davidson would appear again on Weekend Update, but this time he would formally apologize to Crenshaw.

This apology was set apart from previous expressions of regret. SNL has always been an unapologetic comedy show that pushes the boundaries. In the past, if the show crossed a line, it would usually result in apologetic letters being sent from executive producers.  

When Bill Hader made a tasteless joke in a sketch about Down syndrome, the only action taken to apologize was a personal letter from Alan Wurtzel, SNL executive producer,  to the National Down Syndrome Society.  

The apology demonstrated by Davidson was heartfelt and professional. It was a different approach by SNL to have Davidson apologize personally to Crenshaw, but by adding comedic flare, the war hero was able to get his own sense of revenge on Davidson to further relieve the tension.

Davidson joked about unification between the right and left because they both agreed that he was a “terrible person.” Although this was a comical segue into his apology, it was a valid point into today’s strained political climate. But the more important point in the skit is that “Americans are able to forgive.”

This is a seemingly forgotten message in society these days, especially when it comes to celebrities. Famous personalities are put under the limelight for all of their actions to be displayed to the world.

Was Davidson out of line? Yes. But this does not mean he is unable to notice his actions were immature and come forth to apologize.

Crenshaw’s demonstration of forgiveness was a commendable achievement especially because he was crossing partisan lines. Not only did it return a more positive reputation to Davidson and SNL, it was able to portray an even more important message to viewers.