Pete Davidson, who joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” before he could legally drink, isn’t just one of the youngest featured players in the show’s history—he’s one of our favorites. Maybe it’s his dopily boyish looks, or the stoner-kid style with which he delivers some of the show’s edgiest humor. But the kid from Staten Island (“Not a very nice place,” he says) is already one of the year’s breakout stars.
At 21, you’re the youngest “featured player” currently on “SNL.” You obviously got an early start.
I started doing stand-up when I was 16, my junior year in high school. My two friends and I would sit at home watching stand-up. They kept saying I should try it, and so I did. And it went…OK. So when everyone was doing after-school activities or going to parties, we’d be going to open mics.
And somehow you got hooked up with Nick Cannon?
I met him when I was 17, when he had a radio show in New York. Nick was looking to get back into stand-up again, and he started doing these little shows in the city. I was performing in one of them, and we formed a relationship. I ended up going on the road with him for two or three years.
How did you wind up on “SNL?”
I was so lucky. Amy Schumer is a good friend, and she called me up to do a bit part in “Trainwreck.” She said, “It’s going to be a three-person scene, we’re going to improvise some lines, and the scene will be you, me, and Bill Hader.” Well, shit! I love Bill Hader! So it was really fun, and not long after that, Bill calls and says, “Hey, buddy, I recommended you to Lorne. You’re going to need to come in and audition.”
Is the pace as brutal as everyone says?
The schedule is insane. I’m probably the most tired one of all. Everyone else is used to not sleeping very much, and I need to learn from them. I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee. It’s hard. You don’t see your friends or family that much. I don’t see my girlfriend as often. But it’s also great fun to write these amazing sketches and then get to do them. With super-famous people! And you meet them!
Are you still dating Carly Aquilino from “Girl Code?”
She’s the best! We’re moving in together, on 11th Avenue, so I’m going there right now.
Probably? I grew up on Staten Island. I have no idea where these different parts of the city are. But I can tell you we’re near water.
At the Justin Bieber roast, you did a bit about your father, a firefighter, who was killed in the 9/11 attacks, and then Jeffrey Ross joked about it as well. Was that the first time you talked about it in your act?
I had mentioned it in my stand-up a couple of times.I don’t let a lot of people know about my dad dying on 9/11. It’s not a way to introduce yourself. So I never told anybody, and then I would do jokes about it…and I think people thought I was lying about it. Which would be crazy! That said, I think there are ways to make it funny, and what better way to get over something that hurt you than laughing about it? As for Jeff’s joke, I’m just really glad it was actually funny.