Pete Davidson, Saturday Night Live, and the era of social networks.

adminNovember 14, 2018


Dan Crenshaw and Pete Davidson on Saturday Night Live.

Dan Crenshaw and Pete Davidson in Saturday night live.

Will Heath / NBC

If one thing has remained constant through Saturday night liveThe four decades, is that the set is, by design, greater than the sum of its individual players. The cast members naturally strive to stand out from the pack, but always within the confines of the Lorne Michaels show, fighting for a fugue character or a running sketch. Even when it appears in a successful movie, the ideal is that it is a film derived from the program. No one is bigger than the show, and no one should be distracted from the show. Remember the incessant jokes of Norm MacDonald O.J.-is-actually-a-killer on "Weekend Update"? They he was fired from the program in 1998. Michaels is famous for his quick ax for players with apparent performance, but SNL also has a zero tolerance position in distraction. Once someone's person becomes bigger than the show itself, they leave.

That's why Pete Davidson, better known for his biography than for his comedy, is one of the most unique members of the cast in SNLThe busy history. Davidson is now in his fourth season, after a couple of years working in the comic mines of MTV2 and Comedy Central. His rapid rise to fame was convincing and refreshing for a show that is perennially restarting to keep up with the current times: a skinny 20-year-old standing up, whose father died saving lives on September 11 and who looked like a composite photo of the three Beastie Boys circa License to get sick. However, although he is now easily the most recognizable cast member of the show among those who do not see him, Davidson is not really good at SNL, which he freely admits: "I'm not good at drawing comedy, I do not know how to write it or write it." He can not make impressions, his Digital Shorts attempts are a weak tea compared to the (certainly high) standards set by Lonely Island, and the closest he has come to a The breakout character is his monosyllabic pool-boy forward. He plays a solid sideman, he tells Uncle Butt, and leaves his mark as a frequent heartbreaker.

Despite all this, he has taken season 44 due to the "Weekend Update". While last season SNL energy focused on the theme of the Trump show, which opens cold, and this year has revolved around the personal life of the coolest cast member of the show. It began in the segment "Update" of the premiere of the season, during which Davidson spent 3½ minutes of self-contempt for his commitment to Ariana Grande, during an episode in which the own Grande retracted "emotional reasons". The replacement of Grande, Kanye West ended the episode with a sad and uncomfortable disturbance of MAGA, which Davidson boarded at a "Update" desk shortly after a week, framed by his own problems with mental illness (which he had previously addressed in the program).

For much of this season, the show has revolved around Pete Davidson, the person.

After news emerged that Grande and Davidson had separated, their acquisition of "Update" changed at great speed. Davidson jokingly proposed to Maggie Rogers in a promotion for Episode 4, which led Grande to sublet hell and release one of the best breaking songs in recent memory. Davidson allegedly withdrew from a sketch about his ex-scheduled for that episode, but he was still able to vent his side of the aftermath of the relationship. After a little piece of "Update" during which he made jokes about teenage jokes about the faces of the midterm candidates of the Republican Party, he tackled the rupture with awkwardness and seriousness. Maybe, appropriately, it ended with a nod to a meme about tricking people into voting through celebrity gossip.

Just when it seemed that Davidson was going to turn "Update" into his own weekly opinion article on Grande, he liked the pop star with experience on Twitter this biting observation from a fan, his series changed again. One of the Republicans Davidson tried to grill at that time was the Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw, who lost his eye in an IED explosion. After a week of Davidson's bad joke circulating as a controversial political issue, the snake finally swallowed its own tail this weekend, when Davidson let Crenshaw roast his appearance on "Update", complete with an interruption of the timbre of the Crenshaw's phone, playing the single "Breathin & # 39; Por Grande." At the end of this surreal set, perfectly linked to Veterans Day, the duo linked Crenshaw's selfless service with Davidson's father. sui generis sacrifice to urge the country to forgive one another in the spirit of bipartisanship and support for the troops. According to one estimate, Crenshaw is the great millennial hope of the Republican Party, and at the end of this bit, he turned to the camera and pronounced a miniature convention speech seriously. Other SNL First: the bombed joke of a cast member helped launch the national political career of a Republican congressman.

All this means that for much of this season, the program, and perhaps more important in 2018, the coverage after the show, has revolved around Pete Davidson. And not Pete Davidson, the sketching artist: Pete Davidson, the person. It's hard to predict where Davidson could go from here; perhaps at the end of the season, Davidson will join Eddie Murphy as the only current cast members to host Saturday night live. *

Standing comedy is always an exaggerated performance of the self, but in SNL, the supports have traditionally subsumed their self-exams for the good of the whole. The predecessors Dennis Miller, Colin Quinn and MacDonald used "Update" as their own nightclub, but Davidson is taking the rules of social networks to the SNL: "Weekend Update" is becoming his status update. Although it did not perform well in other parts of the program, Davidson strongly appeals to a cohort of online self-brands that suffer more depressive episodes than any other age group and are now tuning in to their grandparents' favorite show. to see the awkward revelations of Davidson. Davidson could have eliminated Instagram because the Internet did not make him feel good, but who needs social media when his personal platform is broadcast live from 30 Rock?

* Correction, November 13, 2018: this post erroneously stated that no current cast member has previously hosted Saturday night live. In fact, in 1984 cast member Eddie Murphy hosted the show when his 48 hours co-star Nick Nolte fell ill at the last minute.


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