For the last couple of years, we have mostly known Pete Davidson for his (sporadic) work on Saturday Night Live and his WTF romantic life, in which he has been engaged to Ariana Grande and linked to Kate Beckinsale and Cindy Crawford’s daughter, among others. The appeal of Pete Davidson — both as a romantic interest and as a comedian — remains somewhat elusive, but Davidson has a good story, people like John Mulaney, Judd Apatow, and Bill Hader love him, and notwithstanding what looks like a bad stand-up special, Davidson seems poised to break out in a big way.
In the next few months, for instance, we’re going to see Davidson’s Sundance hit from last year, Big Time Adolescence, which comes out on Hulu on March 13th. It looks more compelling than I’d like to admit:
Meanwhile, later this month, he’ll be in Jesus Rolls, The Big Lebowski spin-off written and directed by John Turturro.
Judd Apatow — who hasn’t made a movie since 2015’s Trainwreck, which helped launch Amy Schumer’s career — will return this summer with The King of Staten Island, which Apatow directed and co-wrote with Pete Davidson based on Davidson’s life. Davidson will obviously also star in the film along with Pamela Adlon, Marisa Tomei, and Steve Buscemi. And if that’s not enough, next year, Davidson will star in the revamped Suicide Squad 2 written and directed by James Gunn and starring Margot Robbie, Taika Waititi and … Nathan Fillion.
Actually, the relationship that Davidson apparently forged with Fillion on the set of Suicide Squad 2 has also translated into a guest-starring role on Fillion’s The Rookie, where Davidson will play the half-brother of Fillion’s character. “We had him come down and do an episode of The Rookie, he plays my half-brother. My miscreant, ne’er do well half-brother. One’s a cop, one’s a pain in the ass — and now they’re half-brothers. It’s amazing.”
Everybody loves Pete Davidson. But I’m still not entirely sure why. Davidson reminds me a lot of my own supremely talented younger brother, a charming, charismatic, insanely loveable fuck-up and addict who seemed to be on the verge of cleaning up and getting his sh*t together and making something huge of himself at any moment for years, and everyone — including myself — wanted to help him make it. I don’t want to speak for Davidson, but my brother used that unyielding support from family and friends as a safety net that allowed him to continue fucking up, knowing that people would be there to catch him when he fell (as long as he didn’t die). It wasn’t until that support was withdrawn that he finally gained some of the independence necessary to successfully put his life in order. A good support system is invaluable, as long as one doesn’t take advantage of it.
I hope that Davidson doesn’t use the affection everyone seems to have for him as a crutch. I hope he figures out how to make it on his own. Then again, aside from a knack for making friends with all the right people, Davidson hasn’t actually exhibited that much onscreen talent. He’s very good at playing himself, although part of his appeal may be his authenticity; he’s a rare twentysomething who exhibits a genuine DGAF energy. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares in all those upcoming projects, and what his success or failure does for his mental health. I hope he’s a modest success, but I also hope he lays off the shitty sexual assault jokes.