Pete Davidson started “Saturday Night Live” on a serious note this weekend.
The comic addressed the Israel-Palestine conflict as he traded the show’s signature cold-open sketch for a monologue.
Talking about coping with “the horrible images and stories” that have emerged from the region this week, Davidson said, “And I know what you’re thinking. Who better to comment on it than Pete Davidson?”
“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’s father, Scott Davidson, was a New York City firefighter who died on Sept. 11, 2001, while responding to the World Trade Center attacks.
“I saw so many terrible pictures this week,” he went on. “Children suffering, Israeli children and Palestinian children. And it took me back to a really horrible, horrible place. No one in this world deserves to suffer like that, especially not kids.”
Turning to a serendipitous story about his childhood, Davidson told viewers about how Eddie Murphy and his mom helped him begin to cope with the loss.
“She got me what she thought was a Disney movie,” he explained. “But it was actually the Eddie Murphy stand up special, ‘Delirious.’ And 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 that. I really don’t, and I never will. But sometimes comedy is really the only way forward through tragedy.”
Davidson told audiences and viewers, “You know, my heart is with everyone whose lives have been destroyed this week. But tonight, I’m gonna do what I’ve always done in the face of tragedy, and that’s try to be funny.”
“Remember, I said try,” he smirked, then announced, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night.”
The monologue was an emotional way to mark Davidson’s first return to “SNL” since his exit in 2022.
Palestinians have been fleeing south since the Israeli government ordered Gaza’s civilians to move, signaling an on-the-ground attack from the Israeli Defense Forces may be imminent, according to experts.
Violence in the region erupted last Saturday after Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, killed 1,300 people in a coordinated attack across multiple locations in Israel.
Not long after, Israel began retaliating by bombing Gaza. The counterattacks have left 2,300 dead, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.