Apology and Humor

Incorporating humor with an apology is risky. If anyone could pull it off, it’d be a cast member of Saturday Night Live, right? But even Pete Davidson, after a few lame comments, delivered a straight public apology Saturday night for mocking Congressman-elect Lt. Com. Dan Crenshaw on “Weekend Update” last week. The apology met the basic criteria of taking responsibility for a specific action, and saying those magic words, “I’m sorry.” It was almost a relief to then see Mr. Crenshaw appear on the show and dish it back to Mr. Davidson with some humorous lines. Given that this was Veteran’s Day weekend, it was appropriate for Mr. Crenshaw to sum up with a sober encouragement that we honor all veterans. To cap it off, Mr. Crenshaw noted that Mr. Davidson’s father was a first-responder who died in 9/11. Note that it was the one forgiving, not the one apologizing, who used humor effectively; but the offender had to be willing to laugh at himself, and Davidson was.

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