Known as the King of Staten Island, Pete Davidson went from being a small-town comedian, doing stand-up for his friends at bowling alleys, to one of the youngest cast members of Saturday Night Live.
With career highs and lows, and a broken-off engagement, here is a breakdown of the life and career of Pete Davidson.
Born In Staten Island, New York
Pete Davidson was born in Staten Island, New York. Growing up, the soon-to-be-famous comedian attended a slew of schools, including St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School, Tottenville High School, and Brooklyn’s Xaverian High School.
He only attended one semester at St. Francis College before dropping out to pursue a career in comedy.
First Stand-Up Act: A Bowling Alley At 16-Years-Old
Davidson was a small-town comedian before making it big on MTV and then Saturday Night Live. He’d always known he wanted a comedy career and had his first “shot” as a teenager.
His first time doing stand-up was at 16 when his friends dared him to try one of his acts at the local bowling alley.
The Early 2010s
In the early 2010s, Pete Davidson began making a name for himself outside of Staten Island. In 2013, he had his first onscreen appearance on MTV’s Failosophy; he was in the third episode of the series.
One month later, he appeared on Guy Code in the episode “PDA and Moms.” His comedy was well-received by viewers, and he was featured in four more episodes.
2013 Was A Huge Year
As it turned out, 2013 would prove to be a big year for Davidson. After his time on Guy Code, his first stand-up show was featured on Gotham Comedy Live, a series that showcased up and coming talent out of Gotham Comedy Club in New York City.
From there, he was invited to Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out.
2014: Saturday Night Live
Only one year after his first television appearance Pete Davidson got the gig of a lifetime. He joined the cast of Saturday Night Live for the premiere of the 40th season. He gained an audition through comedian and actor Bill Hader, who Davidson met while auditioning for the film Trainwreck.
Hader went straight to SNL producer Lorne Michaels, asking to give the young comedian a shot.
The Only Cast Member From The ’90s
Davidson ultimately landed SNL, becoming the only new cast member that season but the only one born in the 1990s. Not only that, but he was also one of the youngest cast members in the show’s history!
His sketches were well received by both critics and viewers of the show, particularly the Indian Jones sketch he did alongside Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson.
His Career Boomed
After being cast on Saturday Night Live, Davidson’s career in Hollywood skyrocketed. He was invited to be one of the main roasters of Justin Beiber on Comedy Central Roast. Critics thought he was one of the best on the episode.
It was one year later that he made Forbes’ list of “30 Under 30.”
A Comedy Tour With John Mulaney
Davidson began juggling his time on Saturday Night Live with other projects. In 2016, he filmed his first stand-up special in New York, Pete Davidson: SMD.
Fast-forward a few years and, in 2019, he began touring with John Mulaney, filming a limited comedy series called Sundays With Pete & John.
2018 And A Whirlwind Relationship
A year before going on tour with John Mulaney, some people might remember he was in a relationship with singer Ariana Grande. The year 2018 was huge for the couple, as they began dating, got engaged, and broke off the engagement all in the span of a few months!
Grande went on to write a song about Davidson, even including him in her hit song “Thank U, Next.”
Focused On His Career
Regardless of what goes on in his personal life, Davidson remains focused on his career.
Not only did he do a sketch collaboration with Machine Gun Kelly called “A Message from the Count” for his new album Hotel Diablo, but Davidson also starred in Jason Orley’s comedy film Big Time Adolescence.
Numerous Film Appearances
While he wasn’t the star of the film, Davidson began appearing in numerous movies, adding to his already stellar resume. Some of the films included The Jesus Rolls, What Men Want, The Angry Birds Movie 2, and The Dirt.
He was even selected to play the villain Blackguard in James Gunn’s 2021 film The Suicide Squad. Spoiler alert: his character didn’t last too long!
All About The Ink
One of Pete Davidson’s most defining characteristics is the tattoos covering his legs, arms, chest, hands, and neck. According to the comedian, he has over 100 pieces, each with its own special meaning.
One tattoo on his left arm, the number 8418, celebrates his late father. The number was his father’s firefighter badge number.
Removing The Ink?
Even though Pete Davidson’s tattoos have garnered a lot of attention, the comedian said during an interview in 2021 that he plans on removing them.
His plan to remove the ink was due to the hassle of covering them up for various television and film roles. He’d have to show up to sets hours early to get them all covered!
The King Of Staten Island
In 2020, Pete Davidson’s semi-autobiographical film The King of Staten Island was released. Written by Davidson, Judd Apatow, and Dave Sirus, the film follows the life of “Scott” as he grows up on Staten Island and enters the world of comedy.
The film was nominated for numerous awards, including The People’s Choice Award for Comedy Movie of 2020 and Comedy Movie Star of 2020.
Since becoming a famous comedian on SNL, Pete Davidson has been in a few relationships with some high-profile actresses. Aside from his whirlwind romance with Ariana Grande, Davidson has been connected to actresses Kate Beckinsale and Margaret Qualley, model Kaia Gerber, and Bridgerton star Phoebe Dynevor.
The latter relationship ended due to both Dynevor and Davidson’s busy schedules.
2021 And Kim Kardashian
When Kim Kardashian hosted Saturday Night Live in 2021, no one thought it would end in a relationship between her and Davidson. Alas, an on-screen kiss during a sketch as Jasmine and Aladdin was all it took.
The two began dating in November of 2021 amid Kardashian’s messy divorce from Kanye West.
The End Of An Era
Pete Davidson was a regular face on Saturday Night Live from 2014 until 2022. After a notably lengthy absence during season 47, it was announced that Davidson would be leaving the show after the finale.
It didn’t come as too much of a shock to viewers, though, as Davidson has said he would like to move on from the show following the 46th season.
“I Don’t Know What The Plan Is…”
When he expressed his wish to leave SNL in 2021, Davidson didn’t really know what his future career would hold. During an interview with Gold Derby, he said, “I don’t know what the plan is. Everything’s kind of up in the air right now, just depending on scheduling.”
He went on to perform on the longtime show for one more season.
Moving On Up And Moving On Out
Along with announcing that he was leaving the cast of SNL, Davidson let it be known that he was planning on finding a new place to live! An ongoing joke with Davidson was the fact that he still lived in his mother’s basement.
In 2021, a Zoom call that was uploaded to TikTok showed Davidson revealing that he finally moved out and purchased his own place.
Reflecting On His Time
During Davidson’s final appearance on SNL, he spoke of his time on the show during the “Weekend Update.” He said, “Yeah, I never imagined this would be my life.”
He said, “Look at me when I started here, I was just a skinny kid, and no one knew what race I was.” He went on to make an emotional farewell to the cast.
An Emotional Farewell
Davidson went on to say an emotional farewell and thank you to the people who believed in him through the years. He said, “I appreciate ‘SNL’ always having my back and allowing me to work on myself and grow.”
“Thank you to Lorne for never giving up on me or judging me even when everyone else was, and for believing in me and allowing me to have a place I could call home with memories that will last a lifetime.”
The Next Project: A Staten Island Ferry Boat
As of 2022, Pete Davidson has set his eyes on a new project alongside his former SNL co-star Colin Jost. The two comedians purchased a decommissioned Staten Island ferry.
According to The New York Times, they plan to refurbish the old ferry and convert it into an arts and entertainment club.