Pete Davidson Opens Up About Getting SNL Gig at Age 20: 'It Felt Like It Was a Joke'

Pete Davidson first began performing stand-up comedy at age 16

Pete Davidson
Photo: Will Heath/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty

Pete Davidson didn't even know Saturday Night Live was still running when he was asked to audition for the late-night comedy show.

"I didn’t know it was still on the air," Davidson said in a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning. "I mean like when you’re 16, you’re not watching political midnight shows."

In a new profile for the weekend morning show, the 26-year-old comedian opens up about his career in comedy and how joining the SNL cast "drastically" impacted his life. "I started being taken seriously as a comic," he explained. "It really changed my life."

Davidson also recalled how it felt to become one of the youngest cast members ever on the popular show, which has featured Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Kristen Wiig and more.

"I was like 10, 12 years younger than everybody else. It felt like it was a joke," he said.

"It felt like very ‘Make a Wish-y,' " said Davidson, whose father died while responding to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. "It felt like charity for sure."

Even though the sudden launch in his career felt like a "joke," Davidson said he's always been confident on-stage.

"I was really confident as a comic because like you have to be," he explained. "On stage is where I feel my most comfortable, but off stage, I never really thought I was a great comic or anything like that. I’m very self-hating."

Davidson also spoke about his upcoming movie The King of Staten Island, which he co-wrote and stars in. In the film, the comedian tells a semi-autobiographical story to fans —"75 percent autobiographical" — that mirrors the grief he grappled with after the death of his father.

In the movie, the actor plays Scott, a 20-something aspiring tattoo artist living at home in his New York City borough hometown, still coming to terms with the loss of his firefighter father, who died 17 years prior.

During a recent interview with the New York Times, Davidson said he saw the movie as an opportunity to “just really lay it all out there and be able to heal and move on from it, instead of, every day, feeling sorry for myself. Now we can put that in the past.”

The star collaborated with director Judd Apatow, whom he met after briefly appearing in 2015's Trainwreck.

"It was really hard because it’s stuff I would share with my therapist," Davidson added of making the movie. "But Judd really cares, and the hard work that he was doing to find out about my life made me feel so comfortable. He was like, [Judd voice] 'I’m going to need pictures of your dad.' I’m like, oh, no."

The King of Staten Island will be available to rent online on June 12.

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