Peter Michael Davidson (born November 16, 1993) is an American comedian, actor, and writer. He started doing standup in 2013 before being hired as cast member on the NBC late-night sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live for eight seasons from 2014 to 2022.

Pete Davidson
Davidson in profile
Davidson in 2013
Birth namePeter Michael Davidson
Born (1993-11-16) November 16, 1993 (age 30)
New York City, U.S.
Medium
  • Stand-up
  • television
  • film
EducationXaverian High School
Years active2010–present
Genres
Subject(s)

Davidson began his career in the early 2010s with minor guest roles on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Friends of the People, Guy Code, and Wild 'n Out. He released his comedy specials Pete Davidson: SMD (2016) and Pete Davidson: Alive from New York (2020).

Davidson starred and executive produced the comedy film Big Time Adolescence (2019), and co-wrote and starred in the semi-autobiographical comedy-drama film The King of Staten Island (2020), and the Peacock series Bupkis (2023). He continued acting in films such as The Suicide Squad (2021), Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022), and Meet Cute (2022).

Early life and family

Peter Michael Davidson[1] was born in New York City's Staten Island borough on November 16, 1993, to Amy (née Waters) and Scott Matthew Davidson.[2][3] His father was a New York City firefighter for Ladder 118 who died in service during the September 11, 2001 attacks, along with the rest of his unit.[4] He was last seen running up the stairs of the Marriott World Trade Center just before the building was destroyed when the Twin Towers collapsed. His Requiem Mass was held at St. Clare's Catholic Church in Great Kills, Staten Island. Davidson, then aged seven, 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 ripping his hair out until he was bald.[5] In October 2016, he revealed on The Breakfast Club morning radio show that he struggled with suicidal thoughts when he was younger and that the music of Kid Cudi saved his life.[6]

Davidson's father was predominantly of Jewish ancestry,[7][8] with some distant German, Irish, and Italian roots. His mother is of mostly Irish ancestry, with some distant German roots.[5] He has a younger sister named Casey[9][10] and was raised Catholic.[5][11] Davidson attended St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School, and then Tottenville High School, before transferring to Brooklyn's Xaverian High School and graduating from there in 2011. After high school, he enrolled at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights.[3] After one semester, Davidson decided to pursue a career in comedy full-time.[12][13] He first tried stand-up comedy at age sixteen in a Staten Island bowling alley, where a group of friends that included future professional baseball player Matthew Festa, knowing of his comedy aspirations, dared him to take to the stage.[14]

Career

Early career (2013–2014)

Davidson's earliest onscreen appearance was in the third episode of the MTV comedy series Failosophy, which premiered February 28, 2013.[15] 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.[16] 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 appearances on that show. He subsequently made standup appearances on television and appeared in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.[17] In 2014, he acquired a role in a Fox comedy pilot, Sober Companion,[18] but it ultimately did not make it to series.[19]

Saturday Night Live and breakthrough (2014–2022)

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.[13][20] The first new addition to the cast that season,[12] 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.[21] Hader subsequently told producer Lorne Michaels about him. His debut garnered positive critical notice,[21][22] 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][23] an endeavor that eventually found them entangled in the "69" position.[24] Another involved Davidson being shot in the chest with an arrow by Norman Reedus.[14] Over the years, Davidson played a number of characters, the most famous being Chad, an easily distracted apathetic man who first appeared in the season 41 episode hosted by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, as a pool boy who becomes entangled with a lonely housewife.

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.[25] Among his bolder jokes was one at the expenses of fellow roaster Snoop Dogg, host Kevin Hart, and their 2004 film Soul Plane. Davidson, whose firefighter father died responding to the September 11 attacks, called the film "the worst experience of [his] life involving a plane".[14] In 2016, he was placed on the Forbes 30 under 30 list.[26] In April of that year, Comedy Central filmed Davidson's first stand-up special, Pete Davidson: SMD, in New York City.[27]

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.[28] 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.[29]

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.[30] In May 2020, The King of Staten Island was released, which Davidson both starred in and co-wrote with Judd Apatow, who also directed. Davidson was nominated for The Comedy Movie Star of 2020 for his work in The King of Staten Island and The Comedy Act of 2020 Pete Davidson: Alive from New York at the 46th People's Choice Awards.[31] In April 2021, Davidson was cast as Joey Ramone in a Netflix biopic I Slept With Joey Ramone, based on the late singer's brother's memoir of the same name. Davidson will also serve as co-writer and executive producer.[32] In August 2021, he appeared as Blackguard in The Suicide Squad directed by James Gunn.[33] He voiced Marmaduke in an animated film released on Netflix on May 6, 2022.[34] Following lengthy absences in season 47, it was announced shortly before its finale that it would be Davidson's last on Saturday Night Live.[35]

Stardom and Bupkis (2023–present)

He currently stars in the Peacock original series Bupkis, which premiered on May 4, 2023.[36] The series debuted to mixed reviews with The Guardian describing it as "messy" and compared it unfavorably to other shows writing "Though every piece seems to come from somewhere else, a derivative streak that undercuts the touches of personal specificity. Pete’s existential ambling suggests a dumber Louie, his travails in the surreal demimonde of celebrity suggest a dumber Atlanta, and his dealings with his coterie of hangers-on suggest a slightly less-dumb Entourage."[37]

In 2023 Davidson acted in three high-profile action franchise films. He appeared as Phlektik in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Bowie in Fast X, and voiced Mirage in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.

Comedy style

 
Davidson on stage in 2018

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" which make him relatable to audiences. He touches upon topics such as marijuana, sex, and relationships. He talks about incidents from his awkward high school experiences to living in a dormitory during his brief stint at St. Francis College.[13] He 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.[5]

Personal life

In October 2015, Davidson lived in Brooklyn Heights, New York.[5] In 2019, he lived in Staten Island with his mother in a home they purchased together.[38][39][40] In April 2021, he moved into his own residence in Staten Island.[41] In February 2022, Davidson announced plans to move from Staten Island to Brooklyn.[42] Davidson is godfather of Leo, the son of fellow comedian and friend Ricky Velez.[43] He is close friends with Seattle Mariners pitcher Matthew Festa; the two were classmates at St. Joseph by the Sea High School.

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."[44] He supported Joe Biden in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.[45]

Health

Davidson was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at age 17 or 18, for which he receives intravenous biologic therapy, and has used medical marijuana for pain management and recreationally.[46] 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.[6] 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 on its use considerably, the personal and emotional problems he initially assumed were the result of his daily marijuana use were actually caused by his newly diagnosed borderline personality disorder, for which he has since been undergoing treatment.[47][48]

On December 3, 2018, Davidson shared a candid Instagram post in which he expressed thoughts of suicide, before deleting his account on the social media platform entirely.[49] The New York Police Department conducted a wellness check on Davidson in response to social media posts from followers and former fiancée Ariana Grande.[50][51] Davidson had been at the Saturday Night Live studio at the time preparing for the last episode of the year before its holiday hiatus. Davidson and John Mulaney, comedian and former SNL writer, made humorous references to the Instagram post during the Weekend Update segment of the first episode following the holiday hiatus on January 19, 2019.[52]

Relationships

Davidson dated comedian Carly Aquilino from 2014 until 2015,[15] and dated Cazzie David, daughter of comedian Larry David,[53] from 2016 to 2018.[54][55][56]

In May 2018, he started dating singer Ariana Grande.[57] In June 2018, Davidson confirmed he was engaged to Grande, but the engagement was called off in October 2018.[58][59][60][61] Grande's song about Davidson, titled "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".[62]

In January 2019, Davidson was reported to be in a relationship with actress Kate Beckinsale, twenty years his senior, but by April they had "called time on their romance".[63] In response to media comments about the age difference, he said that such an age gap was new to him and that the media should ask older men in longer relationships with younger women such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Alec Baldwin, Larry King, and Donald Trump about it.[64]

He also dated actress Margaret Qualley, daughter of Andie MacDowell until their relationship ended in October 2019.[65] He was involved with model Kaia Gerber from October 2019 to January 2020.[66] In August 2021, he split from Bridgerton actress Phoebe Dynevor, daughter of actress Sally Dynevor, after a five-month relationship.[67]

Davidson and Kim Kardashian were first spotted out together in October 2021 following Kardashian's appearance on Saturday Night Live.[68] During her time hosting an episode of SNL, the two shared an on-screen kiss in a Disney-themed sketch, where they played Jasmine and Aladdin.[69] They began dating in November 2021.[68] Previously, Kardashian filed for divorce from husband Kanye West in February 2021.[68] Following a very public split, Kardashian was legally declared single by a judge in March 2022.[69] West referenced the relationship in his 2022 track "Eazy", in which he threatens to "beat Pete Davidson's ass".[68] The music video for Eazy depicted a claymation figure of Davidson being kidnapped, buried, and showed his severed head.[69] West further attacked Davidson on Instagram in February of the same year, calling him a "dickhead" and "Hillary Clinton's ex boyfriend".[70] In August 2022, Davidson and Kardashian split up after nine months of dating.[71]

Between December 2022 and August 2023, Davidson dated actress Chase Sui Wonders.[72][73] The two met on the set of Bodies Bodies Bodies and she later co-starred in an episode of Davidson's streaming series Bupkis.[74]

Space flight

In March 2022, spaceflight company Blue Origin announced that Davidson would be an "honorary guest" alongside five paying customers onboard NS-20, a suborbital flight of its New Shepard craft planned for later that month.[75] However, the flight was rescheduled, and Blue Origin announced that Davidson was "no longer able" to join the crew of the craft.[76]

Car crash incident

On March 4, 2023, Davidson crashed his car into a house while driving late at night with girlfriend Chase Sui Wonders. No one was injured in the crash. He was later charged with a misdemeanor for "reckless driving"[77][78] and agreed to complete 50 hours of community service and attend 12 hours of traffic school as part of a diversion program.[79]

Controversies

Catholic Church–R.Kelly comparison

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn demanded an apology from Davidson in March 2019, after an SNL sketch where he compared the Catholic Church to R. Kelly, an entertainer who had been accused and subsequently convicted 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."[80] In a statement posted on its website, the diocese criticized the "disgraceful and offensive skit" and added, "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."[81] Davidson's comments came after the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens agreed to a record $27.5 million settlement for sex abuse allegations in September 2018.[82]

Dan Crenshaw

Davidson was criticized for mocking Republican congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw, who wears an eye patch as a result of a wound incurred while serving in Afghanistan.[83] He compared Crenshaw to "a hitman in a porno movie" and added, "I'm sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever."[84][85][86][87][88] In response to backlash over the comments, Davidson apologized and appeared beside Crenshaw the following Saturday on an SNL Weekend Update segment. Crenshaw accepted Davidson's apology and called on Americans to "never forget" the service and sacrifices of veterans.[89] In his 2020 Netflix special Alive from New York, Davidson implied that the apology had been issued only because he had been told to do so.[90]

Accolades

Awards and nominations for Pete Davidson
Award ceremony Year Category Nominee(s) / Work(s) Result
Golden Raspberry Awards[91] 2023 Worst Actor Marmaduke Nominated
Worst Supporting Actor Good Mourning Nominated
People's Choice Awards[91] 2020 Comedy Movie of 2020 The King of Staten Island Nominated
Comedy Movie Star of 2020 Nominated
Comedy Act of 2020 Pete Davidson: Alive from New York Nominated

Filmography

Film

Film work by Pete Davidson
Year Title Role Notes
2014 School Dance Stinkfinger
2015 Trainwreck Dr. Conner's Patient
2018 Set It Up Duncan
2019 What Men Want Danny Uncredited
Big Time Adolescence Zeke Also executive producer
The Dirt Tom Zutaut
The Angry Birds Movie 2 Jerry (voice)
The Jesus Rolls Jack Bersome
2020 The King of Staten Island Scott Carlin Also writer and executive producer
2021 The Suicide Squad Richard Hertz / Blackguard
2022 I Want You Back Jase Cameo
Bodies Bodies Bodies David
Marmaduke Marmaduke (voice)
Good Mourning Barry[92]
Meet Cute Gary Also executive producer
2023 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Phlektik Cameo[93]
Fast X Bowie Cameo[94]
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Mirage (voice)
Dumb Money Kevin Gill[95]
Good Burger 2 Angry customer Cameo
2024 The Home Max Post-production[96]
TBA Wizards! Post-production[97]
TBA Riff Raff TBA In production[98]

Television

Television work by Pete Davidson
Year Title Role Notes
2013–2014 Wild 'N Out Himself 7 episodes
2013–2014 Guy Code Himself Recurring
2013 Brooklyn Nine-Nine Steven Episode: "The Slump"
2014 Friends of the People White supremacist Episode: "The Horror"
2014–2022 Saturday Night Live Various 159 episodes
2016 The Jim Gaffigan Show Jeffy Episode: "The List"
Pete Davidson: SMD Himself Stand-up special
2017 Eighty-Sixed Waiter Episode: "The Birthday Monster"
Click, Clack, Moo: Christmas at the Farm Duck (voice) Television film
2018 The Guest Book Clem Episode: "Invisible Son"
2020 Pete Davidson: Alive from New York Himself Stand-up special
The Real Bros of Simi Valley Grady 2 episodes
2020–2022 The Rookie Pete Nolan 3 episodes
2020–present The Freak Brothers Phineas T. Phreakers (voice) Main role
2021 The Now Hardware Employee Episode: "Call From... Mother"
2022 The Kids in the Hall Donovan Episode 1[99]
Pete Davidson Presents: The Best Friends Himself (host) Stand-up special
Murderville Himself Episode: "Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery"
The Kardashians Himself
2023 American Dad! Toad Button (voice) Episode: "Viced Principal"
Bupkis Himself Main role; also creator, writer, and executive producer
Saturday Night Live Himself (Host) Season 49

Discography

Pete Davidson discography
Title Year Other artist(s) Album Notes
"A Message from the Count" 2019 Machine Gun Kelly Hotel Diablo Guest appearance
"Kevin and Barracuda (Interlude)" 2020 Tickets to My Downfall Guest appearance
"Wall of Fame (Interlude)" 2022 Mainstream Sellout Guest appearance
"Who Am I" 2023 Chris Webby 28 Wednesdays

See also

References

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