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Pete Davidson

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Pete Davidson
Davidson smiling
Davidson in 2015
Birth namePeter Michael Davidson[1]
Born (1993-11-16) November 16, 1993 (age 26)
New York City, U.S.
Medium
  • Stand-up
  • television
  • film
Years active2013–present

Peter Michael Davidson (born November 16, 1993)[2] is an American comedian, actor, writer and producer. He is a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Davidson has also appeared on the MTV shows Guy Code, Wild 'n Out, and Failosophy.[3][4] He has performed stand-up comedy on Adam DeVine's House Party, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Comedy Underground with Dave Attell, and guest-starred in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.[5] In 2020, he performed in the semi-autobiographical comedy-drama film The King of Staten Island, which he also co-wrote.

Early life[edit]

Davidson was born November 16, 1993, in Staten Island, New York, the son of Amy (née Waters) and Scott Matthew Davidson.[2][6] His father, of mostly Jewish heritage, was raised Catholic, attending Catholic school at St. Joseph by the Sea High School; his Requiem Mass was held at St. Clare's Roman Catholic Church in Great Kills, Staten Island. Davidson's mother is of Irish ancestry; Davidson was raised Catholic.[7][8] He has a younger sister named Casey.[9][10] His father was a New York City firefighter who died in service during the September 11 attacks;[11][12] he was last seen running up the stairs of the Marriott World Trade Center, just before it collapsed. Davidson, then seven years old, was profoundly affected by the loss. He told The New York Times that it was "overwhelming" and that he later acted out in school as a result of the trauma; at one point, he ripped his hair out until he was bald.[7] In October 2016, Davidson revealed on The Breakfast Club morning radio show that he struggled with suicidal thoughts when he was younger, and that the music of rap artist Kid Cudi saved his life.[13]

Davidson first tried stand-up comedy at age 16 in a Staten Island bowling alley, where a group of friends, knowing of his comedy aspirations, dared him to take to the stage. He did so only after smoking marijuana.[14] Davidson, who has suffered from Crohn's disease since the age of 17 or 18, at the time said he "cannot function" without marijuana, adding that he would not be able to work on Saturday Night Live, and that attempts to perform without it have not been successful. He explained that "I can perform when I'm not high, but it wouldn't be that much fun for me."[15] He attended St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School, then Tottenville High School before transferring to Xaverian High School in Brooklyn where he graduated in 2011. His mother still works as the school nurse at the latter. Following high school, he enrolled at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights;[6] after one semester Davidson dropped out to develop his career in comedy.[5][16]

Career[edit]

Davidson's earliest onscreen appearance was in the third episode of the MTV comedy series Failosophy, which premiered February 28, 2013.[17] The following month, he appeared in "PDA and Moms," a third-season episode of the MTV2 reality TV comedy series Guy Code, the first of four episodes in which he was featured.[3] That June, his first televised standup aired as part of a second-season episode of the Comedy Central program Gotham Comedy Live, which showcases standup comedians at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. The following month, he returned to MTV2 with an appearance on Nick Cannon Presents: Wild 'N Out, his first of six episode appearances on that show.

Davidson looking to the side
Davidson in 2013

Davidson subsequently made standup appearances on television and appeared in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.[18] In 2014, he acquired a role in a Fox comedy pilot, Sober Companion,[19] but it ultimately did not make it to series.[20]

Davidson joined the cast of Saturday Night Live with the show's 40th-season premiere, which debuted on September 27, 2014. At age 20, he was the first SNL cast member to be born in the 1990s, and one of the youngest cast members ever.[16][21] The first new addition to the cast that season,[5] Davidson was given a chance to audition for the show through regular Bill Hader, whom he had met while filming a small part in the 2015 Judd Apatow feature film comedy Trainwreck.[22] Hader subsequently told producer Lorne Michaels about him. His debut garnered positive critical notice,[22][23] with his most noted skits during the season including an Indiana Jones-style sketch in which he and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, after being pelted with poison darts, were forced to mutually suck poison out of each other's various body parts,[14][24] an endeavor that eventually found them entangled in the "69" position.[25] Another involved Davidson being shot in the chest with an arrow by Norman Reedus.[14]

In March 2015, Davidson was a roaster on the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber, and his set was praised as one of the best of the show.[26] Among his bolder jokes was one at the expense of fellow roaster Snoop Dogg and host Kevin Hart, and their 2004 film Soul Plane. Davidson, whose firefighter father died responding to the September 11 attacks, called that film "the worst experience of my life involving a plane."[14]

In 2016, Davidson was on the Forbes 30 under 30 list.[27] In April of that year, Comedy Central filmed Davidson's first stand-up special Pete Davidson: SMD, in New York City.[28]

In January 2019, it was announced that Davidson would be touring with John Mulaney in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts for a limited series of comedy shows titled, "Sundays with Pete & John." Mulaney and Davidson have become close appearing together on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live.[29] That May, after the 44th-season finale of SNL, Travis M. Andrews of The Washington Post credited Davidson with being the most memorable performer that season, and its breakout star, which Andrews attributed to Davidson's mining of his personal struggles and his admission of his comedic missteps, which Andrews felt gave the season a mixture of comedy and pathos.[30]

Davidson collaborated with Machine Gun Kelly to write the sketch, "A Message from the Count" for Kelly's album Hotel Diablo.

In 2019 he starred in Jason Orley's Big Time Adolescence, and had supporting roles in Adam Shankman's What Men Want, Jeff Tremaine's The Dirt, Thurop Van Orman's The Angry Birds Movie 2, and John Turturro's The Big Lebowski spin-off The Jesus Rolls.

In February 2020, Davidson released his stand up special Alive from New York on Netflix.[31]

In May 2020, The King of Staten Island was released, which Davidson both starred in and co-wrote with Judd Apatow, who also directed.

Comedy style[edit]

Davidson has been praised for basing his comedy on his own life and employing aspects of his life that have been likened to "a series of brutal truths and vulgar confessions," and which make him relatable to audiences. Touching upon topics such as marijuana, sex, and relationships, incidents he relates include those from his awkward high school experiences to living in a dormitory during his brief stint at St. Francis College.[16] Davidson jokes about highly sensitive subjects, including the loss of his father during the September 11 attacks. He says he finds that it empowers him to address the feeling of powerlessness that experiencing such tragedy at a young age inflicted upon him.[7] He is a fan of the Harry Potter franchise, and has incorporated that material into his comedy work as well.[16][22]

Controversies[edit]

Catholic Church comments[edit]

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn demanded an apology from Davidson in March, 2019, after an SNL sketch in which he compared the Catholic Church to R. Kelly, an entertainer who had been accused of pedophilia. In the sketch, Davidson said "(Kelly) is a monster and he should go to jail forever. But if you support the Catholic Church, isn't that like the same thing as being an R. Kelly fan? I don't really see the difference, except for one's music is significantly better."[32] In a statement posted on its website, the diocese criticized the "disgraceful and offensive skit", further opining, "The faithful of our Church are disgusted by the harassment by those in news and entertainment, and this sketch offends millions. The mockery of this difficult time in the Church's history serves no purpose."[33] The comments came after the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens agreed to a record $27.5 million settlement for sex abuse allegations in September 2018.[34]

Dan Crenshaw comments[edit]

Davidson was heavily criticized for mocking Republican congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw's eye patch, which he wears as a result of an injury suffered while serving as a U.S. Navy SEAL in Afghanistan.[35] Davidson compared Crenshaw to "a hitman in a porno movie", and added, "I'm sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever."[36][37][38][39][40]

In response to public outrage over the comments, Crenshaw appeared beside Davidson the following Saturday on an SNL 'Weekend Update' segment. Davidson apologized to Crenshaw, stating, "I mean this from the bottom of my heart, it was a poor choice of words... the man is a war hero, and he deserves all the respect in the world." Crenshaw accepted Davidson's apology and called on Americans to "never forget" the service and sacrifices of veterans.[41] Crenshaw also paid tribute to Davidson's father, a firefighter who had been killed on 9/11.[42] Crenshaw and others have speculated that the joke and the subsequent attention may have helped him win Texas's 2nd congressional district in the 2018 midterm election.[43][44]

In his 2020 Netflix special Alive from New York, Davidson rescinded the apology previously issued to Crenshaw, implying that it had been issued only because he had been compelled to.[45][46] In the performance, Davidson tells the audience, "I didn't think I did anything wrong. It was like words that were twisted so that a guy could be famous... So I made fun of this guy with an eye patch and then, like, I kind of got forced to apologize."[47] Crenshaw responded by stating that although he had initially hoped that Davidson's apology had been sincere, "you can never tell with comedians". Crenshaw added, "To be fair, if we took everything that comedians said on a Netflix special seriously, man our country would be in a world of hurt. I would like to remember the guy that I saw in person and hung out with that night (on SNL)."[47]

Personal life[edit]

In October 2015, Davidson lived in Brooklyn Heights, New York.[7] As of April 2019, he lives in Staten Island, New York with his mother in a home they purchased together.[48][49][50]

His father Scott Matthew Davidson was a firefighter and first-responder who died as a result of the September 11 attacks. Davidson has his father's badge number, 8418, tattooed on his left arm.[7]

Davidson supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and on December 5, 2017, he stated on his Instagram account that he got a tattoo on his leg of Clinton, whom he called his "hero", a "badass", and "one of the strongest people in the universe." Clinton herself thanked Davidson for the compliment, joking, "This makes it significantly less awkward that I've had a Pete Davidson tattoo for years."[51]

By August 2018, Davidson had over 40 tattoos on his arms, legs, chest, hands, and neck.[52]

He was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at age 17 or 18,[15] for which he receives intravenous treatment,[7] and used medical marijuana as a pain reliever.[15] On March 6, 2017, Davidson announced on his Instagram account that he had quit drugs and was sober for the first time in eight years.[13] During an interview on comedian Marc Maron's podcast, Davidson clarified that the only drug he used was marijuana and, while he has since cut back its use considerably, the personal problems he initially assumed were a result of his daily marijuana habit were actually caused by borderline personality disorder, for which he has since been undergoing treatment.[53][54]

On December 15, 2018, Davidson shared a candid Instagram post in which he expressed thoughts of suicide, before deleting his account on the social media platform entirely.[55] Concern from Ariana Grande, his friends and Internet users resulted in the New York Police Department conducting a wellness check on Davidson, who was found safe at the studios for Saturday Night Live.[56] Davidson only appeared live once on that night's episode of SNL, when he introduced a musical performance by Miley Cyrus, Mark Ronson and Sean Lennon.[57] Davidson returned to SNL the following episode, January 19, 2019, and on the Weekend Update segment he appeared alongside comedian and former SNL writer John Mulaney in which they made a reference to his Instagram post.[58]

Relationships[edit]

Davidson dated comedian Carly Aquilino from 2014 until 2015,[17] and dated Cazzie David from 2016 to 2018.[59][60][61] In June 2018, Davidson confirmed he was engaged to singer Ariana Grande, but the engagement was called off in October 2018.[62][63][64][65] Grande's song "Pete Davidson" appears on her 2018 album Sweetener. She also referenced him in her song, "Thank U, Next", with the lyric, "Even almost got married / And for Pete I'm so thankful."[66]

In late January 2019, Davidson began dating actress Kate Beckinsale. By late April 2019, the couple had separated after nearly four months of dating.[67] In late August 2019 it was reported that Davidson had started dating actress Margaret Qualley,[68] though they split up after a few months.[69] In January 2020, after three months of dating, Davidson split up with model and actress Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford.[70]

Filmography[edit]

Pete Davidson film appearances
Year Title Role Notes
2013 Archie Black[71] Short film
2013 TubbyMan[71] PipeKleener Short film
2014 School Dance[72] Stinkfinger
2015 Trainwreck[72] Dr. Conner's Patient
2018 Set It Up[72] Duncan
2019 What Men Want[73] Danny
2019 The Dirt[72] Tom Zutaut
2019 The Angry Birds Movie 2[74] Jerry Eagle Voice
2019 The Jesus Rolls[75] Jack
2019 Big Time Adolescence[76] Zeke Also executive producer
2020 The King of Staten Island[77] Scott Carlin Also writer and executive producer
2021 The Suicide Squad[78] TBA Post-production
TBA Marmaduke Marmaduke Voice; post-production[79]
TBA Worst Man[80] TBA Pre-production
Pete Davidson television appearances
Year Title Role Notes
Friends of the People[71]
Click, Clack, Moo: Christmas at the Farm[71] TV short
2013 Gotham Comedy Live[1] Himself
2013 Comedy Underground with Dave Attell[1] Himself
2013 Guy Code[3] Himself Four episodes
2013 Failosophy[3]
2013–2017 Nick Cannon Presents: Wild 'N Out[3] Himself Seven episodes
2013 Brooklyn Nine-Nine[71] Steven Episode: "The Slump"
2013 Adam DeVine's House Party[3] Himself Episode: "Stunt Audition"
2013 Jimmy Kimmel Live![3] Himself
2014–present Saturday Night Live Himself, various Main cast
2014 Sober Companion[71] Pilot for unproduced television show
2015 Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special Himself Anniversary Special
2015 Tawk[81] "Pete Davidson's Girlfriend Is Not Going to Be Happy"
2015 Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber[26] Himself (roaster) Television special
2016 Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe[82] Himself (roaster) Television special
2016 Pete Davidson: SMD[28] Himself Stand-up special
2016 The Jim Gaffigan Show[71] Jeffy Episode: "The List"
2016 Give Converse with Pete Davidson[71] Himself Nine episodes
2017 Eighty-Sixed[71] Waiter Web series
2017 Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday Himself Episode: "4.3"
2018 Lip Sync Battle[83] Himself Episode "Pete Davidson vs. Michael Bolton"
2018 The Guest Book[71] Clem Episode "Invisible Son"
2018 Telethon for America[84] Himself
2019 Dressing Funny[85] Himself Episode: "Tan France Gives Pete Davidson a John Mulaney Makeover"
2020 Pete Davidson: Alive from New York Himself Netflix special[86]
2020 The Rookie[87] Pete Nolan Episode: "Follow-Up Day"
2020 The Freak Brothers[88] Phineas T. Phreakers Adaptation of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers
2020 Real Bros of Simi Valley[89] TBA Season 3 Episode: TBA

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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