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SNL Is Still Grappling with Fallout from Latest Pete Davidson Controversy

SNL Is Still Grappling with Fallout from Latest Pete Davidson Controversy Once again, S.N.L. has found itself under fire for a controversia...

SNL Is Still Grappling with Fallout from Latest Pete Davidson Controversy

Once again, S.N.L. has found itself under fire for a controversial jokeâ€"and once again, cast member Pete Davidson is at the center of it. A month after the comedian drew criticism for joking about replacing his then-fiancee Ariana Grande’s birth control with breath mints. . .and a few weeks after that engagement went sideways. . . and just days after an ill-timed proposal joke during the weekly S.N.L. promos prompted Grande to angrily tweet, then delete a response, Davidson appeared on “Weekend Update” to crack wise about Republican Congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw’s eyepatch, comparing Crenshaw to “a hitman in a porno movie.” The former Navy SEAL lost an eye while serving in Afghanistan.

Days later, while on a press tour for the upcoming animated feature The Grinch, fellow c ast member Kenan Thompson has found himself handling the fallout. S.N.L. is declining to comment. Although, to be fair, the show rarely does issue comment or apology when its comedy crosses the line.

Thompson, who does carry a certain amount of inherent S.N.L. authority given his lengthy tenure on the series, endeavored to remove himself from the controversyâ€"it was, after all, not his joke, and not his mess to clean upâ€"while appearing on The View Tuesday. “It’s not really my department, but since I’m out promoting The Grinch I get to answer these questions,” he said. Even so, Thompson acknowledged that the matter “is being handled internally.”

When S.N.L. returned this fall in the midst of Davidson’s whirlwind romance with Grande, it was clear the show’s writers and producers were eager to take advantage of his newfound celebrity. Davidsonâ€"who wasn’t exactly a starring cast member last seasonâ€"immediately saw a huge bump in his air time. All that time in the spotlight soon resulted in several news cycle’s worth of scandal for the show. But even negative attention is attention; Davidson’s most recent “Weekend Update” segment, in which he managed both to tick off the GOP and fit in a last-minute reaction to Grande’s new ex-inspired song “thank u, next,” already has over 2.5 million views on YouTube.

In other words, whether or not S.N.L. is planning to rebuke Davidsonâ€"or, as Thompson put it, finding “a way to right that wrong”â€"it’s hard to deny that Davidson has been good for business. In fact, the most relevant S.N.L. joke from last week’s episode may have come during host Jonah Hill’s visit to the show’s fabled Five Timers’ Club during his opening monologue. In that sketch, veteran host Candice Bergen asked someone to fetch her a drink called “The Pete Davidson,” describing it as such: “It has a lot going on, but it gets the job done.” No truer words. The cast member who shortly appeared with that drink on a silver platter? Why, senior-most cast member Kenan Thompson, of course.

Davidson has yet to address the controversy himself, though he did offer up an apology, of sorts, in real time when it was clear his joke didn’t sit well with the Studio 8h crowd: “I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever. Whatever.† That may be all we get until this coming Saturday, when Liev Schrieberâ€"no stranger to cleaning up fictional celebrity scandalsâ€"hosts the show.

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