‘SNL’: Pete Davidson Gets Serious About Israel, Value of Comedy

The former cast member described losing a loved one to a terrorist attack and how he moved forward

Saturday Night Live‘s 49th season opened with host Pete Davidson offering brief yet poignant words on the deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“This week we saw the horrible images and stories from Israel and Gaza, and I know what you’re thinking: who better to comment on it than Pete Davidson,” the former SNL cast member began. “Well, in a lot of ways, I am a good person to talk about it because when I was 7 years old, my dad was killed in a terrorist attack. So I know something about what that’s like.”

Davidson described the aftermath of his father’s death on September 11, 2001, and what ultimately helped him move through the grieving process.

“My mom tried pretty much everything she could do to cheer me up. I remember one day when I was 8, she got me what she thought was a Disney movie, but it was actually the Eddie Murphy standup special, Delirious,” the actor and comedian recalled.

“We played it in the car on the way home, and when she heard the things Eddie Murphy was saying, she tried to take it away. But then she noticed something: for the first time in a long time, I was laughing. Again, I don’t understand it. I really don’t, and I never will, but sometimes comedy is really the only way forward through tragedy,” Davidson said.


“My heart is with everyone whose lives have been destroyed this week. But tonight, I’m going to do what I’ve always done in the face of tragedy, and that’s try to be funny. Remember: I said try.”

In his monologue a few minutes later, Davidson lightened the mood by describing his experience trying to bond with his sister by watching the HBO series Game of Thrones. But that show, he was discouraged to find out, has “so much incest!”