Advertisement

Pete Davidson Talks About His Frustrations with 'SNL' in an Interview That Is Very Much Worth Watching

I've never been the hugest Pete Davidson fan. Which by no means is meant to be taken as me saying he's not talented (he is) or that he's not a thousand times more successful that practically any comic I've ever worked with (he's that too). It's just by the nature of ensemble comedy there'll be people in the cast you like more than others. It's not a rejection of Davidson. It's a simple matter of taste. So, just to go back a few seasons, Bill Hader always killed me in a way that, say, Bobby Moynihan didn't. Or to go way back, I was more of a Phil Hartman and Dana Carvey guy than Adam Sandler and David Spade. Your results may vary. There's no wrong answer. Or, maybe I just resent the fact Pete Davidson was going out with Kate Beckinsale. Which is also perfectly reasonable. 

Anyway, I can appreciate this guy at a whole other level I hadn't before after watching this. It's a remarkably, open and honest discussion that pulls no punches. And it gives you the no bullshit impression that Davidson is a guy who has his issues he's working on, but that he's basically a decent, bright and perceptive guy. 

Among the highlights, in case you can't watch the whole thing, he talks about Louis CK trying to get him fired from SNL and how he treats younger comics like garbage. I particularly like the part where he's asked about how he was going to get a Louis CK tattoo. But only because he got a Harry Potter one and then Alan Rickman died, then he got a Willy Wonka one and then Gene Wilder died. And how for him, watching Louis' career go up in smoke is exactly how watching him implode must've been for Ariana Grande. What a savage and hilarious line to drop. 

He also talks about how she made his dick famous, his pot/acid/mushrooms consumption, and how he really hasn't dated all that much, it just looks like it from the high profile women he's gone out with. 

But to me the real money shot starts around the 29 minute mark. That's where he gets into the behind the scenes stuff at "SNL." How Lorne Michaels is like a father figure to him, but what a shitshow it is for him with the rest of the cast and the writers. How they treat him like he's dumb and make his stupidity the butt of every joke. Watch it for yourself and you'll see he's not whining. He gets that it's comedy and does self-deprecating stuff himself. But explains how hard it is to get an audience back once they've been told you're a dope over and over again. And that the show is such a pressure cooker where everyone is competing against everyone else while living in constant fear they're going to get fired that they're miserable.

I think part of the reason I really enjoyed this is that I've always been fascinated by the whole creative process. I've listened to a hundred podcast interviews, watched the YouTubes and even met some of the people who've been in that writer's room and others like it. And I can't imagine being in Davidson's shoes, trying get laughs in an environment where he hates everyone and they hate him. 

I consider myself lucky. It's been forever since I worked stand up at a club or with other comics who were rooting against each other. Oh, I've done it. We all have. I've worked for bookers who would look for flaws in your set and jokes that didn't land, just so they could justify paying you less than you'd agreed to. I've been on shows with insecure, raging egomaniacs who always needed to convince you they outdid you. It's been years since I've experienced that. And now I only work with people I enjoy working with and it's like free money. Of course the same goes for Barstool. I mean, no one's going to tell you you did great when you really sucked. You're held accountable for the material you put out and it better be good. But there's nobody actively trying to tear you down to make themselves look good like you get on SNL, the comedy circuit and much of the radio business. Believe me, I've considered myself lucky. Even luckier after listening to Pete Davidson's story. 

Now I hope he does come back, because it will be the height of excruciatingly awkward comedy. If not, if he's really gone for good, my money is on his career blowing up. I'll be rooting for him.