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Pete Davidson Opens Up About Why He Didn’t Think He’d Last Very Long On SNL

Pete Davidson on "Weekend Update."
(Image credit: NBC)

Pete Davidson wrapped up an impressive eight-year stint on the classic NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live in May, stepping away from the funny rap video tributes and ”Weekend Update” appearances to focus more on his post-SNL projects (and, likely, his relationship with Kim Kardashian). Due to sketch comedy's historically intense schedule, it’s rare to see cast members stay with the show as long as Davidson did, which makes it particularly amusing that when he started, he thought he’d be fired after one year.

The King of Staten Island star got his foot in the door at Saturday Night Live after a small appearance in Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck alongside longtime cast member Bill Hader. While Pete Davidson had some experience in comedy and stand-up, the 20-year-old didn’t do the characters or have the sketch background that other actors brought to the table. He told Kevin Hart on Hart to Heart that Lorne Michaels worked with him on how he could fit in on the show but, at the time, he was sure he wouldn’t last very long. In Davidson’s words:

But we really didn’t know, because I just had stand-up bits, and I really couldn't do characters or anything like that. So at first I was like, aw, fuck! I’ll get to be here for a year, I’ll get fired, but I still, like, got to do that, and I’ll have that credit, and I can write for whatever Cartoon Network show or whatever. Like, I’ll be able to work at least.

Because he didn’t slide into SNL as seamlessly as other cast members did — especially on a show that’s so famous for sketches (like the great ones in Season 47) and impressions — Pete Davidson thought there was no chance for him to be able to stay on long term. Nobody could blame the Bodies Bodies Bodies actor for trying though, because, as he pointed out, Saturday Night Live is an impressive credit to have — even if he only had a year. 

He ended up getting a lot more than that, and he even worked his way up to impressions, including a memorable 2021 sketch in which he impersonated guest host Rami Malek, as the No Time to Die actor played him. And nobody’s going to soon forget his fortuitous sketch playing Aladdin to Kim Kardashian’s Jasmine.

Now that he has moved on — of his own accord, not by being fired, as he’d feared early on — Pete Davidson’s exploring different genres, from the romantic comedy Meet Cute with Kaley Cuoco to horror/thriller The Home and seems ready to shed the reputation of being “a big fuckin’ idiot.” Does that mean we’ll see big steps in his personal life as well? The comedian also revealed to Kevin Hart that his biggest dream is to have a child of his own, and he’s already been seen bonding with Kim Kardashian’s little ones — even getting a tattoo of their initials!

You can check out Pete Davidson’s full Hart to Heart conversation with a subscription to Peacock Premium, and while we wait for news on his myriad projects, stay up to date with when your favorite shows are premiering with our 2022 TV Schedule.

Heidi Venable
Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.