This past weekend “Saturday Night Live” showed how an apology is done.
Producer Lorne Michaels, cast member Pete Davidson, and writers of the show expressed their sincere contrition for the wrong committed during the previous week’s show. In an interesting sidebar to “SNL”’s faux pas and subsequent public apology, it looks as though a new GOP figure has emerged with a future as bright as the stars.
Dan Crenshaw, a veteran of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, ran for Congress in the recent mid-term elections in a district in Houston, Texas. The former Navy SEAL wears an eye patch, because his right eye was lost as a result of an I.E.D. explosion that took place in Afghanistan while he was serving the nation.
Crenshaw was the object of vicious “SNL” ridicule, when, during the “Weekend Update” segment of the show, Davidson, displayed a picture of him with his eye patch intact and said, “You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hit man in a porno movie.”
“I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever,” Davidson added with a smirk.
Three days after being mocked on “SNL,” the congressional GOP candidate won his election by a resounding 8 point margin. During his victory speech, Crenshaw acknowledged the “SNL” swipe at him, saying, “I’m from the SEAL teams. We don’t really get offended.”
The following day, in an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” the representative-elect was asked about the “SNL” skit, and he shared that it may have helped him secure a victory in the election.
“I have to imagine it probably helped. There are a lot of veterans out there who would not think their wounds would be the source of poor jokes in bad taste to a hysterically laughing audience,” Crenshaw said.
After the segment aired, Michaels, Davidson, and “SNL” received sharp criticism from folks on both sides of the political aisle. Davidson’s comments were even denounced by fellow “SNL” cast member Kenan Thompson, who in an appearance on “The View” said, “It’s never somewhere I would go, in the offense territory towards veterans, because my father is one.”
“They’re figuring out a way to right that wrong, I’m pretty sure,” Thompson added.
The “SNL” producers and writers proved Thompson correct by coming up with a way to express the show’s regret to Crenshaw in a manner that was humorous, effective, and inspiring.
Davidson once again took to the “Weekend Update” desk, this time saying, “In what I’m sure was a huge shock for people who know me, I made a poor choice last week.”
He continued, “I mean this from the bottom of my heart. It was a poor choice of words. The man is a war hero, and he deserves all the respect in the world. And 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. That I’m a [expletive].”
Suddenly, in a surprise cameo Crenshaw appeared in a seat next to Davidson and said, “You think?”
Davidson then thanked him for coming, to which Crenshaw cracked, “Thanks for making a Republican look good.”
After Davidson offered his face-to-face apology, Crenshaw graciously accepted it. Immediately, the congressman-elect’s cell phone began ringing with the distinct sound of an Ariana Grande ringtone. The rub is that Grande happens to be Davidson’s former fiancée.
Crenshaw was then afforded the opportunity to have even more fun at Davidson’s expense. As unflattering pictures of Davidson were displayed, Crenshaw, with impeccable timing and stand-up flair, delivered the following punch lines:
“He looks like if the meth from Breaking Bad was a person.”
“He looks like a troll doll with a tapeworm.”
“Pete looks like Martin Short in The Santa Clause 3.”
“By the way, one of these people was actually good on ‘SNL.’”
Davidson acted as though he was taking the tough ribbing in stride, but the whole thing was, of course, pre-planned. However, the final portion of the segment turned out to be serious and quite compelling.
Crenshaw displayed formidable statesman-like skills as he spoke about how “Americans can forgive one another.”
“We can remember what brings us together as a country and still see the good in each other,” he noted.
He also referenced Veterans Day and encouraged the audience to express their respect and gratitude to our veterans, especially through the use of one particular phrase.
As Crenshaw explained, “When you say ‘never forget’ to a veteran, you are implying that, as an American, you are in it with them — not separated by some imaginary barrier between civilians and veterans, but connected together as grateful fellow Americans who will never forget the sacrifices made by veterans past and present.”
In a touching reference to Davidson’s loss of his own father, who was a New York firefighter and first responder on that tragic Sept. 11 day, Crenshaw said, “… never forget those we lost on 9/11, heroes like Pete’s [Davidson] father. So I’ll just say, Pete, never forget.”
“Never forget,” Davidson said, as the two shook hands.
Davidson then turned to the audience and said, “And that is from both of us!”
At that moment, if you listened with your heart you could hear the echoes of the sentiment resonate across our land: #NeverForget.