Thanks to the recent drama between Kanye West and his soon-to-be-ex-wife Kim Kardashian that has monopolized the trend-lines on the internet, comedian Pete Davidson has found himself directly in the crosshairs of an ongoing pop-culture war between Yeezy and Kim K loyalists.
It’s really through no fault of his own, unless you can blame a guy for having a 12 inch pipe and a penchant for landing only the most A-list members of the opposite sex. A-list isn’t an exaggeration by any stretch. Here’s the list of his romantic partners going back to 2014:
Comedian Carly Aquilino (my personal favorite)
Cazzie David (daughter of legendary comedian Larry David)
Pop Star Ariana Grande
Actress Kate Beckinsale
Actress Margaret Qualley (and daughter of 90’s star Andie MacDowell)
Model Kaia Gerber
The Most Famous Woman on the Planet Kim Kardashian
At 28 years old, Pete Davidson could retire from the game today and would undoubtedly be a first-ballot sure fire hall-of-famer in the bagging broads category. Even Tommy Lee would bow in shame in the presence of Pete Davidson’s man-meat.
It doesn’t surprise me that hot women love Pete Davidson. He’s lanky, hung, and funny. Funny goes a LONG way in the hookup department; I’m living proof. I played in rock bands my entire youth, from about age 16 – 23. I opened for some cool bands, and traveled all over Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa playing shows. I never once got laid on the road playing music.
I started doing standup in 2007, and that first 2 years of comedy were my most sexually active years of my adult life. Funny triumphs all. It allowed me, many times, to “out-kick my coverage” as a chubby ginger with quick wit. I’ve gotten mean-mugged more times than I can remember in the last 10 years for being out with a woman that I have no business being with. They look at me; they look at her, and they assume I must be some billionaire tech guy that owns 9 sports cars. It defies all logic, unless you’re a comedian and know what I’m talking about firsthand. I don’t know if you can “turn” someone gay, but if anyone’s ever done it throughout the history of humankind – it was probably a stand-up comedian.
So we know why women love them some Pete Davidson, but lately I’ve been pondering: why does America love Pete Davidson?
I first discovered who Pete was through the Legion of Skanks podcast. If you’re unfamiliar with LoS, you can find it under the dictionary under “the most funny and offensive podcast in the history of the universe.” As a comic that loves edgy, taboo, and boundary pushing content I’ve been a fan from day one. Hosted by Big Jay Oakerson, Luis J. Gomez, and Dave Smith – the LoS podcast has something for everyone that likes to laugh. Pete was a guest back in 2013 (right around the time he joined SNL at 20 years old) and I remember thinking it was super cool that someone with a major TV show would still be down to do such an offensive and risky podcast.
Oh, if we could only go back to 2013.
My first impression of Pete was that he was a quiet dude, who like my long time buddy Rich Dinofia, could sit back and not say much in our group of friends while laughing the whole time, and then out of nowhere would just throw a grenade into the conversation – the perfectly timed tag or one-liner that just capped everything off and stopped us from breathing.
Being on SNL at 20 was impressive, but Pete was never going to confuse people for Bo Burnham – who was essentially a comedic genius from age 16, and by his first Comedy Central appearance at 18 years old was already blowing the rest of us away. My point being: Bo undoubtably had star power, while Pete was a guy you could always see being a funny piece of a larger ensemble; like Jay Baruchel in all of the Seth Rogen movies, which is unfortunately the most insulting thing I could ever say about Pete Davidson.
So how did this bit/ensemble player, comedy’s own Clint Howard, become the MOST talked about comedian in America? Was it a great piece of work? Nah. The best comedic work of the pandemic has oozed out of Shane Gillis like Yuenling vapors and it’s not even close. Is it his celebrity relationships? Maybe, but plenty of comedians have had high profile relationships over the recent years (see Colin Jost & John Mulaney).
After a lot of pondering, I think I’ve figured out why – and here’s the biggest kicker – I don’t even think it’s his fault.
America’s obsession (led by Gen Z in this case) with Pete Davidson isn’t about anything or anyone he’s done. It’s about what he represents.
Pete’s story started out tragically: losing his firefighter father in 9/11 around age 8. He moved from school to school, and eventually dropped out of college in his first year to pursue stand-up full time. At a mere 20 years old, he landed the biggest gig in the history of comedy: A featured player spot on Saturday Night Live.
Pete never really broke through as a sketch-writer, impressionist, or performer on SNL. He mostly gained notoriety through his occasional pop-ups on Weekend Update where he shoehorned 5 minutes of stand-up material into a staged commentary piece – which is what update has often done with funny stand-ups that can’t really do much else on the show. Those types generally don’t last very long on SNL. Just ask my friend, stand-up comedian Brooks Wheelan, who was one-and-done as a featured player SNL in 2014, despite writing and starring in the funniest sketch that SNL has not aired in 40 years.
Around 2016 (3 years in), it was heavily rumored that SNL would be making some big changes to the cast – removing brilliant celebrity impressionist Jay Pharaoh, and long time sketch jack-of-all-trades Taran Killam. The third rumored release was to be the seldom used Pete Davidson, but a perfectly-timed piece of press saved him from the proverbial chopping block: Pete announced he was officially diagnosed as bi-polar – and was battling suicidal thoughts. Take note, Hollywood agents and managers.
Lorne Michaels rushed to his keyboard to clarify that Pete wasn’t being let go; that the show (as well as Lorne himself) were in fact participating in treating his “mental illness” and helping him on the road to recovery. From that point forward, Pete has had the best part-time job in America – dropping in to SNL whenever he pleases or whenever there’s some new celebrity trim work to be done. His BPD status has made him an “untouchable.”
Pete was the first celebrity to press the “mental illness” button on a major scale, which we’ve now seen echoed throughout today’s youth. Anytime their jobs get hard, or they begin receiving criticism for failing to meet expectations or achieve goals, they dive on the “mental illness” sword so fast it’s would end up in a Monty Python flick.
“I’d be better, but my crippling depression makes it impossible for me to work anywhere but at home with my emotional support penguin…”
“I’m sorry I embezzled $40,000 on the company credit card, but the only thing that could ease my crippling anxiety was to pay a year of my rent ahead of time.”
Pete is beloved by young America because he represents the modern American dream: Show up 10 hours a week, make millions of dollars, do all the drugs, and bed as many starlets and supermodels as you can handle.
Yet, we wonder why the job market is horrendous right now. Businesses can’t afford to pay the wages people are demanding (or governments are mandating), at a time where they want to work as little as possible and expect to become millionaires. If you tell them “well the world is hard, and it just doesn’t work that way” they’ll simply lean on the crutch of “mental illness” as their excuse for high wage expectations despite low productivity and output.
They’ve found a way to quantify their sense of entitlement, and you’d better adhere. You wouldn’t want them to sue you for an ADA violation, would you? It started with our airplanes being filled to the brim with animals like an airborne Noah’s Arc, and now every employer across America is being held hostage with the AR-15 that is “mental illness.”
Now I don’t discount ALL mental illness as bs. As someone that’s had about a dozen concussions and 3 very serious ones, I’m well aware of the effects of TBI and post-concussive syndrome – as well as the long-term ways it can affect your brain chemistry. I have to really work on my patience and temper to prevent them from causing problems in my every day life after my last major concussion in 2018.
But here are some of my unpopular opinions on mental illness:
Most “depression” is not a disease or illness – it’s a byproduct of having empathy. Similar to how carbon dioxide (which can be poisonous to humans) is a byproduct of breathing – which is essential to our survival. You can’t have empathy, without feeling sadness at times. I received news that my last, living grandparent passed away this morning. It made me sad, and bummed me out. I’m not clinically depressed. I’m a human being that’s capable of love, and therefor capable of sadness. It’s a simple pendulum swing from one to the other. It’s healthy to experience both, for even pro-longed periods of time.
“Anxiety” simply means that what you’re experiencing personally or in your present environment actually matters to you. Nervous for a big interview? Good. You fucking should be. Nervous to go on a date with that girl you really like? Good, you fucking should be. She’s out of your league. Who do you think you are, Pete Davidson?
But what is the opposite option? Complete and total apathy? Caring about absolutely nothing? If you’ve ever met someone that’s never nervous or anxious, that person is either a serial killer, or super HIGH. Or, they just don’t really care about anything in any significant way, like the nihilists in the Big Lebowski.
That’s “their” goal by the way. It’s why pharmaceutical companies spend billions every year marketing SSRIs, anti-depressants, and anxiety medication to you. They’ve convinced you that being human is an illness. Feelings, thoughts, a lack of purpose, or faith in something greater than yourself isn’t normal. It’s unproductive, and therefor something’s wrong with you.
“Take these pills, and get back on the machines Johnson!”
And it works. It’s super effective. These companies have found a way to make TONS of money capitalizing on human guilt, and telling you that you’re sick when really you’re just bored. Decades of privilege, generational wealth, easy money from white-collar overpaid cubicle jobs, and fast food have left you feeling empty and guilty; you’re now finally faced with the harsh reality that life is really, really hard for some people. It’s OK though! Chin up! You aren’t feeling guilty, or shamed. You’re just bi-polar.
And if you don’t watch out A-list ladies, good ole Pete may have you writing a song about him after he sneaks up on you with his 12 inches.