Pete Davidson Says It Felt Like ‘A Joke’ When He Landed ‘SNL’ Gig At Age 20
Pete Davidson said he thought it was “a joke” when he was first cast on Saturday Night Live at age 20.
In a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning, the 26-year-old comedian opened up about how landing the high-profile gig on the NBC late-night sketch comedy show changed his life — despite the fact that he didn’t even realize it was still on the air at the time.
In the interview, Davidson pointed out that when you’re a teen you’re not watching political shows at midnight, so he had no idea that SNL was still a thing. But after he was cast on the show that once featured future comedy stars Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey, and more, his comedy career took off.
“I started being taken seriously as a comic,” Davidson said. “It really changed my life.”
“I was like 10, 12 years younger than everybody else. It felt like it was a joke,” he added of the SNL gig. “It felt like very ‘Make a Wish-y.’ It felt like charity for sure.”
Davidson, who lost his father at age 7 during the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, said he is most comfortable on stage, but he never thought he was a “great comic.”
In comments to CBS’s YouTube video of the interview, fans noted that while Davidson got “big” from his SNL fame, he never let it go to his head. Other fans noted that Davidson doesn’t give himself enough credit when it comes to his talent.
Davidson, who stars in the semi-autobiographical film The King of Staten Island, scored an SNL audition six years ago after working with Bill Hader in a small role in the film Trainwreck, per The New York Post. SNL boss Lorne Michaels was reportedly enamored with Davidson’s unique style and signed him to a contract on the long-running late-night show in 2014.
“He was surprised [he got it],” Davidson’s friend Dave Sirus told the Post. “His attitude was, ‘Why would they hire me? I don’t do sketches.’ He didn’t know what he would do.”
Not only did Davidson find himself in the national spotlight, but he also found a fatherly figure in Michaels, who reportedly allows him privileges that other cast members don’t usually get. A source told the outlet that Davidson is allowed to spend a lot of time doing other projects, and he was given extended time off to shoot the Suicide Squad sequel. He also doesn’t have a lot of writing duties on the show. The source added that because Pete brings “a certain audience” to SNL, he “gets away with it.”
Davidson previously told Charlamagne tha God that as the youngster on the cast, he’s painted out to be this “big dumb idiot” on Saturday Night Live. The actor added that he sometimes has a “weird feeling” when he’s in the Studio 8H building where he doesn’t know if he’s in on the joke or if he’s the joke.