Pete Davidson Discusses Israel-Palestine, Father's Passing in SNL Opener

Davidson draws parallels from personal pain to global anguish

by Nouman Rasool
Pete Davidson Discusses Israel-Palestine, Father's Passing in SNL Opener
© Eugene Gologursky/GettyImages

Pete Davidson took center stage as he opened the 49th season of Saturday Night Live, blending solemnity and humor to address the Israel-Palestine conflict and share personal memories of tragedy. Kicking off the new season, Davidson remarked, "We've all seen the distressing images from Israel and Gaza this week.

And you might wonder, 'Why Pete Davidson on this topic?'" The former SNL stalwart delved into his past, sharing, "When I was just 7, I experienced the heartbreak of losing my father to a terrorist attack. I have firsthand knowledge of that pain."

Davidson's Painful Reflections

Reflecting on the week's grim photos of Israeli and Palestinian children, he confessed, "These images transported me back to one of the most painful chapters of my life.

No child should ever endure such anguish." Davidson's father, firefighter Scott Davidson, tragically lost his life during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The comedian opened up about the therapeutic power of comedy during his mourning phase, reminiscing about a mistaken purchase by his mother—Eddie Murphy's stand-up special Delirious, believed to be a Disney movie.

"Witnessing Eddie's performance, I found laughter after a long period of sorrow," Davidson recalled. Emphasizing the cathartic nature of comedy, he shared, "Comedy has an uncanny ability to lead us out of the shadows of tragedy.

I may never fully grasp it, but sometimes laughter is the path through pain." Although SNL's format traditionally begins with a light-hearted monologue from the host, in moments of global grief—such as the aftermath of the Las Vegas and Paris attacks—the show has chosen to adopt a more poignant cold open.

Post Davidson's heartfelt speech, the show transitioned to commercials, returning later with him sharing quips about Staten Island and watching the controversial Game of Thrones scenes with his sibling. Davidson, who frequently draws from personal experiences in his comedy, has often spoken about his father's tragic demise.

His SNL hosting role also saw him humorously touch upon his dubious ferry acquisition alongside Colin Jost and a driving mishap in Beverly Hills earlier this year. Tune into Saturday Night Live on NBC and Peacock at 11:30 p.m.

ET/8:30 p.m. PT. Catch Davidson's evocative opening sequence and enjoy the evening's comedic offerings.

Pete Davidson