Pete Davidson appears to be self-sabotaging his job at Saturday Night Live, all under the guise of promoting his new Netflix special, Alive From New York. The stand-up set is like his presence on SNL: the humor is okay but we’re really watching for the sideshow-slash-impending-train-wreck that lurks all around him.
And he delves into all of it. His relationship with Ariana Grande. His dad on 9/11. The sweet feeling he felt when Louis CK, who tried to get him fired from SNL, got called out for sexually inappropriate behavior. But the jokes feel more like a cover, a relief, as he just tells his side of the story. He’s always been more comedian than actor. Pete rarely stars in any skits and is mostly known for sliding in during Weekend Update. And as little as he shows us on SNL, he shows us even less in his Netflix special.
Pete goes off on his ex-fiance, Ariana Grande. She’s arguably the biggest pop star in the world, especially at the time of their relationship. She’s name checked him in songs and in an interview in Vogue. Pete points out she has her songs, he has his comedy.
And there’s the fact that Louis CK got his after ratting him out to SNL creator Loren Michaels for smoking weed in his dressing room. (#NARC)
It gives us insight into the headlines we’ve seen for years. I enjoyed it for that. But I never was laughing so hard I cried. Rarely did his material elicit more than a verbal chuckle.
The set was never vicious (and I’m not saying that viciousness would have made it better), and it never seems to offer us much more than ‘here’s my point of view.’ And that’s fine, but if you’re going to give us insight into your life, give us some personal comedy.
Tour De Farce
But the real headlines come from the media tour he’s done to promote the special. He’s telling anyone from rando interviewers to Charlamagne Tha God that he’s been disrespected on SNL. He says everyone there makes him the butt of jokes, which even Pete admits is par for the course on the show. But he says it’s mean spirited and they think he’s stupid. The more he talks, the more he proves them right!
SNL has always been a transient show, a platform to launch a bigger career, so after seven seasons it would make sense for him to think about parlaying his success(?) there into other ventures. But the way he’s going out is burning bridges, and he’ll be lucky to be invited back for the inevitable 50th anniversary special in a few years.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Fireball. A double shot. Because Pete’s time at SNL is going to end in.. a fireball.