Pete Davidson stands on the SNL stage, holding a microphone.

Pete Davidson Delivered a Poignant Return for ‘SNL’

Lots of eyes were on Saturday Night Live this weekend as the show returned live for the first time since the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes that effectively shut down most of Hollywood for months. (The SAG strike is still ongoing but the union explained that the show operates under a separate agreement.)

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With so much going on in the world, there was a lot of anticipation to see what SNL would choose to comment on. The Israel-Hamas war is front and center in all of our minds and the heartbreaking and complex situation proved too much to be ignored. Host (and former cast member) Pete Davidson was tasked with addressing the ongoing tragedy in place of the traditional cold open.

The cold opening is famous for SNL. It typically takes the form of a sketch dedicated to a timely, pressing news topic. Davidson took the opportunity to speak directly to camera about the situation unfolding since the monstrous Hamas attack in Israel, mourning the horrible images we’ve been seeing in the news and online.

“I saw so many terrible pictures this week,” Davidson said. “Children suffering, Israeli children and Palestinian children. And it took me back to a really horrible, horrible place. No one in this world deserves to suffer like that, especially not kids.”

He also delved a little bit into his own life. Davidson is mostly known for his comedy (and his dating history). But a formative event in his life, which he’s spoken about in the past but many still don’t know about, is that his firefighter father was killed during the 9/11 attacks.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he said during the cold open Saturday. “Who better to comment on [these events] than Pete Davidson? Well, in a lot of ways, I am a good person to talk about it because when I was seven years old, my dad was killed in a terrorist attack. So I know something about what that’s like.” 

From there, the show went on as usual. Of course they had to hit on the Travis Kelce/Taylor Swift romance that has taken over the NFL. They parodied Fox’s NFL Sunday broadcast analysts as not-so-secret Swifties, with a surprise cameo by Kelce himself. Taylor Swift also appeared to introduce the musical guest, Ice Spice. And a special shoutout to Davidson’s spot-on Kenergy in this musical number:

As election season revs up, we should be seeing more political SNL content, possibly including the return of their famed debate reenactments. As exhausting as that sounds, I for one, am ready.

(featured image: Will Heath/NBC)

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