When Saturday Night Live premiered its 40th Anniversary season this past Saturday, newbie castmember Pete Davidson owned the night, appearing in a Weekend Update sketch that showed his charm and comfortableness on camera, as well as pulled in plenty of laughs from middle America, as well as both coasts. In the days subsequent, the youngest member of the SNL cast has been hailed as the featured player to keep an eye on this season, but it all may never have happened without a little help from former SNL player and huge star Bill Hader.
Recently, Hader spoke with EW to discuss his upcoming hosting stint on the late night sketch series. During the interview, he also discusses how he was able to get Pete onto Lorne Michaels’ radar.
“Pete Davidson—he’s in the movie Trainwreck. He has a small part in it. I told Lorne Michaels about him, said he was really funny. And then they auditioned him for a piece, and Lorne called me to say Pete got the show. I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s wonderful!'”
So, to recap, a small role in the upcoming Judd Apatow and Amy Schumer comedy led Davidson directly into the path of one of SNL’s greatest cast members in recent years. During the movie, he impressed Hader enough that Hader went out of his way to talk to Lorne Michaels about looking into the young comedian, which led to the funny “How Much Money Would You Go Down On A Guy For? Game” Weekend Update sketch. Having a former SNL cast member take an interest in you certainly helps.
Saturday Night Live is a tough gig. It’s a tough show to land an audition for, and it’s even tougher to turn an audition into an actual job. Once the job is landed, things don’t get any easier, with featured players fighting to lands skits and get airtime. A lot of people wash out. But the ones that stick around often stay for an extended amount of time, and will eventually move on to have big careers in showbiz, either via the movie business or television.
It's too early to tell whether or not Davidson will fall in the former or latter camps, but at the very least, he'll live behind one of the most entertaining introductions to a new cast member the show has seen in years. Without further ado, here is Davidson's very first appearance on Saturday Night Live.
NBC's Saturday Night Live airs live from New York at 11:35 p.m. EST. If you are interested in catching Bill Hader's return to the series, he's expected to host the October 11 episode.