Five Absolutely, Positively Non-Essential Pete Davidson Performances
Pete Davidson the funny actor (versus Pete Davidson the King of BDE Celebrity Gossip) is primarily famous for two things: 1) being the one-time Resident Young Person on Saturday Night Live; and 2) playing Pete Davidson in vehicles like The King of Staten Island and the upcoming Bupkis. But that doesn’t mean the guy hasn’t paid his dues. Since launching his stand-up career at the ridiculously young age of 16, Davidson has appeared in a number of high-profile entertainment vehicles, including Trainwreck, The Suicide Squad and Big Time Adolescence (in which he played yet another version of Pete Davidson).
Today, though, we’re not here to talk about Davidson’s adventures in the big time. Instead, let’s run down the baby steps he has taken on the road to stardom — the five positively non-essential performances of his career.
Kid Who Steals Shoes in Friends of the People (2014)
Friends of the People was a little-seen but pretty funny sketch show that ran on TruTV back in 2014-2015. Any show that comes up with a mashup character named Tracy Morgan Freeman is okay by us. A lot of the cast was supposed to be part of an In Living Color reboot that never happened — maybe Friends of the People was stitched together from the scraps of that project? That’s our theory anyway. Give the show props for beating out SNL as the first sketch-comedy program to recognize the talents of an impossibly young Davidson.
The sketch premise is pretty simple: A junior high kid really needs to go #2 during class but is embarrassed to do his business in the school restroom stall. When nature demands immediate action, the boy’s classmates seize the opportunity to reach under the door and steal his sneakers. Can Davidson pull off a character who would harass a dork on a middle-school toilet? Even with little acting experience, he’s hella convincing.
Startlingly Untattooed Jeffy on The Jim Gaffigan Show (2016)
The Jim Gaffigan Show is another worth-watching comedy series that not too many people saw during its original run. (Did you know TV Land aired shows other than King of Queens reruns?) In this Season Two episode, a woeful Gaffigan discovers a blogger’s list of the top 100 comedians. He didn’t make the cut, so he goes on a mission to revitalize his street cred. Somehow, that journey leads him to the house-concert hangout of hustler Jeffy (Davidson).
It’s not much of a part, but it is stunningly shirtless. Prepare yourself for a shocker — this is a relatively ink-free Davidson, and the sight of his smooth, hairless chest is astonishing. Who knew that underneath all those tats, there was actual pale skin? Okay, not Gaffigan-pale, but you get the idea.
Duck in Click, Clack, Moo: Christmas on the Farm (2017)
Now a couple of years into his Saturday Night Live career, Davidson’s voice was recognizable enough to be cast in one of those big-budget Pixar features. Instead, he landed a role in Click, Clack, Moo: Christmas on the Farm, a straight-to-Amazon-video curiosity that you’d need to have a really bored four-year-old nephew to find on your own.
The plot revolves around a group of farm animals plotting to buy a Tumbletron 300 clothes dryer for Farmer Brown, as cows and chickens do before they’re slaughtered for Christmas dinner. But the real star of the holiday show is Davidson’s deviant Duck, a fowl so nasty that he has to spend December scheming to get off of Santa’s naughty list. It’s a part Davidson was born to play, but unless you’re a rabid Davidson completist, there’s no need to fork over cash to watch this one. One parent review sums it up nicely: “My three-year-old wouldn’t watch. Six-year-old was bored.”
Heterophobic Duncan in Set It Up (2018)
The gay best friend is a staple of romantic comedies, but usually, he’s the wisecracking, finger-wagging, advice-spewing pal of the woman in the relationship. In Set It Up, a Netflix rom-com seemingly written by an algorithm, Davidson plays Duncan, “a totally weirdo gay guy” and roommate of the movie’s protagonist, Charlie. (You can tell Charlie’s a good guy because he has a gay roommate and he’s totally okay with it!) Duncan has plenty of suggestions about who Charlie should and should not be dating, advice that Chuck finds heterophobic.
Like all gay best friends in rom-coms, Duncan knows best. He’s also considerate, the kind of roommate who plays Third Eye Blind to let Charlie know he’s hooking up with a dude so maybe don’t knock right now? Reviews for Davidson were mixed at best, with Decider ranting that “it’s not that (Davidson) is bad at acting gay (though he is! quite bad!), it’s that he’s bad at acting.” The Washington Post’s film critic points out that, despite Duncan‘s sexuality, Davidson “somehow seems to be playing himself.” We’d expect nothing less.
Machine Gun Kelly’s Bro in His ‘Loco’ Music Video (2018)
Wow! Who knew Tim and Eric directed music videos? At least, that’s what we assume after watching Machine Gun Kelly’s “Loco,” a psychedelic joint in which he generously gives Davidson first crack at spitting rhymes.
There’s even a shoutout to SNL alums, though we’re not sure the ladies would be flattered by Machine Gun Kelly boasting that he “f***ed two girls who looked like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.” Kelly and Davidson are “besties,” according to Us Magazine, meeting on the set of Wild 'N Out and embarking on an ongoing bromance. The two fellas have a lot in common. “We were both just, like, super stoners,” Kelly told Billboard. “Listened to the same music. So that’s my boy.”
“Loco’s” exciting climax features a docu-reality scene in which the two pals enjoy some excellent late-night shrooms, then sneak into the hotel pool with an umbrella. It’s not long before the hotel desk guy reprimands them with a stern “OUT!,” sending the two wet-ass gangsters scurrying back to their rooms before he can revoke their Marriott Rewards points.