Pete Davidson Hosts ‘SNL’ With New Spins on His Biggest Cliche — Himself
We’re not saying Pete Davidson isn’t versatile, but he has a habit of participating in projects where he plays Pete Davidson. His biggest movie to date is probably The King of Staten Island, a Judd Apatow feature that is essentially The Pete Davidson Story. He’s currently starring in Bupkis, a Peacock series that could be described as The Show-Biz Adventures of Pete Davidson. Even his most successful Saturday Night Live bits were Weekend Update desk pieces where he addressed the viewers as Pete Davidson. So it wasn’t exactly a surprise when Davidson returned to SNL with more Pete Davidson bits in his bag. But give the guy credit — he still managed to pull off some unexpected twists.
First up was the show’s cold open. Traditionally, this is a goofy hot take on a topical story — if you told us Davidson was going to play Jim Jordan angling for the House speaker job, it would have sounded about right. Instead, SNL shelved the comedy completely for a heartfelt message from Davidson about the situation in the Middle East.
As Colin Jost pointed out on Weekend Update, plenty of couch pundits have weighed in on social media with their unqualified opinions (including several comedians). But Davidson delivered an unexpectedly heartfelt message as someone who was only seven years old when he lost his father in a terrorist attack. No taking sides, no calls to action — just a message of empathy for victims everywhere and an explanation of why comedy is so important in times like these.
Davidson’s monologue continued an exploration of all things Davidson, bits I heard in Illinois last week on his tour with John Mulaney (who cameoed last night as well). It’s the Davidson we expect, sordid personal stories about watching the incestuous Game of Thrones with his sister and remembering his car-sex partner from the first night he did stand-up. But he saved his funniest Pete for, of all things, a Barbie parody.
“I’m Just Pete,” a wickedly self-deprecating take on “I’m Just Ken,” was a spot-on spoof of the movie’s signature number. The song also gave Davidson the opportunity to take multiple shots at himself — the mediocre ratings for Bupkis, buying boats under the influence, Kanye beef and multiple rehab stints. Of course, Davidson gets to take off his shirt, one more SNL cliche ripe for a satirical spin.
Is it possible for a sketch to be both a vanity piece and a kick in the pants at the same time? What better way to say, “Hey world, I’m complicated”? And for us to recognize that, like Ken, there’s a Pete inside all of us.