Last week on Saturday Night Live, Pete Davidson made the regrettable decision to make fun of Dan Crenshaw, a Republican congressional candidate who lost an eye to a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan. Per Davidson, Crenshaw’s eyepatch made him look like “a hitman in a porno movie,” and you can probably guess every step of the uproar that followed. An apology was inevitable, and Crenshaw came by “Weekend Update” this week to accept Davidson’s personally. Here’s how it went down:
Structurally, this starts off as a pretty standard “we screwed up” sketch, as Davidson gives Crenshaw the chance to roast him back. The incoming congressman didn’t land anything quite as brutal as Davidson’s own self-assessment last week—“I look like I make vape juice in a bathtub”—but these are pretty good:
This is Pete Davidson. 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.
If you don’t feel like you have the complete context for that Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause joke, this trailer will probably help:
If you don’t feel like you have the complete context for the tapeworm joke, you’ll have to visit YouTube to watch this clip from an episode of House where Hugh Laurie removes a 25-foot-long tapeworm from a patient’s stomach, because there are limits to what we’ll embed on Slate to help our readers better understand a joke about Pete Davidson. Speaking of jokes, Crenshaw can tell them; he got a genuine laugh from Davidson with the dry delivery of his question about Ariana Grande. It’s not exactly rare for Pete Davidson to break during a sketch, but it’s vanishingly rare for an incoming congressman to get more than a polite laugh from anyone, so that’s a win.
As for the serious part of Crenshaw’s appearance, nothing good has ever happened after someone looks into the camera and says, “OK, but seriously: there’s a lot of lessons to learn here,” and this was not an exception. The lesson of the Trump years has not been, as Crenshaw puts it, that “Americans can forgive one another” so much as it’s been “Americans forgive one another way too easily, even when some Americans have voted to keep other people’s children in cages and have neither apologized nor done anything to fix the giant mess they made.” But even if the call for unity rang a little hollow, there’s one thing all Americans should be able to agree on: Dan Crenshaw’s political positions are uniformly terrible on everything from abortion to immigration to the “anti-conservative thugs” he believes are terrorizing America’s colleges. Never forget.