“Hello, Colin and Che… and millions of people only watching to see if I bring up Kanye.” That’s how Pete Davidson began his goodbye segment this weekend on Saturday Night Live.
Missing from the show since January to film a movie, no one was surprised when Davidson confirmed his departure from the show via friend and co-writer Dave Sirus’ Instagram.
Davidson came to SNL from the world of stand-up, so it’s natural that both his first and last appearance would be on Weekend Update, where he could be the most himself. His trademark self-deprecation was very much in evidence, as was his willingness to throw SNL cast members past and present under the bus. He related his years-old scuffle with Congressman Dan Crenshaw (and by association, Fox News) to SNL alum Chris Rock getting slapped at the Oscars, which was an unexpected take on a story that only happened in March but already feels like 10 years ago.
Davidson ended with this. “I appreciate SNL always having my back and allowing me to work on myself and grow. And thank you to Lorne [Michaels] 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 that I can call home with memories that will last a lifetime.”
Davidson has never been a versatile actor — in film and in other TV roles, he’s rarely ventured far beyond the Pete persona — and he stumbled over cue cards even as he read through this farewell. But that’s never been his strength. What came through was his sincerity. We’ve seen a callow 20-year old comedian become a slightly less callow 28-year old comedian before our eyes. He’s made all the dumb mistakes everyone makes, but he’s made them with some of the most well-known names in 21st century American culture, under the watchful eye of journalists and tabloids alike. With a life like that, it stands to reason that the only safe space in the world is Studio 8H.
Elsewhere in this weekend’s season finale, Kate McKinnon said a teary farewell with one last alien abduction sketch, while Aidy Bryant received a goodbye kiss from Bowen Yang and Michael Che at the close of a melancholy “Trend Setters” encore. Kyle Mooney is also reported to be leaving.
How do you think the show will fare without its heavy hitters? Grade the finale below, then light up the comments!