Pete Davidson brought his signature brand of no-holds-barred humor to his Saturday Night Live hosting debut.
Davidson, 29, starred in a spoofed version of Ryan Gosling’s “I’m Just Ken” ballad from Barbie, in which he lamented about his own career after SNL cast members questioned why he was hosting the season premiere.
“No one cares about the work I do / I made a show with Joe Pesci too and no one streamed it but my mom,” the comedian crooned, referring to his semi-autobiographical Bupkis. “When I’m high, I do things like call up Colin Jost / and say ‘Homie, we should buy a boat.’ / They tell me I have butthole eyes, but I never sleep alone at night.”
Instead, Davidson noted that he is “just Pete” as he mimicked Gosling’s big number from Greta Gerwig’s 2023 movie.
While Davidson held up his pointer finger to his mouth to indicate that he was staying silent, SNL then, very briefly, flashed a photo of Kanye West on the screen. West, 45, notably called Davidson “Skete” in a series of inflammatory social media disses last year over the comic’s relationship with Kim Kardashian. (Kardashian, 42, and West were married for six years, separating in 2021, before she moved on with Davidson. They ultimately split in August 2022 after several months of dating.)
Elsewhere in “I’m Just Pete,” Davidson lamented over his various scandals, rehab stints and even his dating history.
“I’m just Pete / My dating life is not discrete,” he added. “I generate tons of publicity for everything except my comedy.”
Saturday’s episode marked Davidson’s return to the NBC sketch comedy series, which he previously appeared on as a cast member from 2014 to 2022. He was originally set to host in May with musical guest Lil Uzi Vert, but his debut was canceled at the time due to the Writers Guild of America strike.
Prior to the official announcement that the show would air repeats for the remainder of season 48, Davidson expressed his disappointment over the development.
“Lorne [Michaels] told me [about hosting] a couple months ago, but then this week, as you know, a writers’ strike might happen,” he explained on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in April. “So I’ve been working on this for, like, two, three months and they’re like, ‘Yeah, well. We’ll know Monday if it’s happening or not.’”
“It just sucks because it feeds my weird story I have in my head, like, ‘Of course that would happen to me,’” Davidson added, joking that the effects of the strike were “all about me” instead of the writers.
Despite the delay, Davidson got a second chance to make his hosting debut alongside musical guest Ice Spice after the WGA voted to officially end the work stoppage in September after five months. While SAG-AFTRA, which represents actors, has been on strike since July, Saturday Night Live was allowed to return because of a special stipulation.
“SAG-AFTRA members appearing on Saturday Night Live either as hosts, guests or cast members are working under the Network Code agreement, which is not a contract we are striking,” the union said in a statement. “They are not in violation of SAG-AFTRA strike rules, and we support them in fulfilling their contractual obligations.”
Since departing his role as a Saturday Night Live cast member, Davidson has starred in Bupkis, a Peacock dramedy series loosely based on his life that premiered in May and has been renewed for season 2. He has also continued to do stand-up. During a September stop in Atlantic City on his “Jon, John & Pete” tour with fellow comedians Jon Stewart and John Mulaney, Davidson joked about his “post-rehab glow” following reports in June that he was seeking treatment amid his struggles with PTSD and borderline personality disorder.
Saturday Night Live airs on NBC Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET.