Pete Davidson Was Heartfelt on Star-Studded 'SNL' with Taylor Swift, John Mulaney and Ice Spice

October 14, 2023

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews / NBC

BY Vish KhannaPublished Oct 15, 2023

A humble and funny Pete Davidson returned to the show that established him as a star and didn't disappoint, while Ice Spice did her best to be a compelling performer on a big stage. With cameos from Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce, John Mulaney, and Rema, Saturday Night Live's 49th season opened big and successfully. Here's everything that happened this week.

The Cold Open

In light of the horrible news about those suffering in Gaza and Israel, a proper cold open was forsaken for host Pete Davidson to draw upon the experience of losing his father on 9/11 and deliver a short, heartfelt, funny and spot-on personal story about how comedy can legitimately help people through tragedies and acts of terrorism. This was affecting and worked well.

The Monologue

Davidson returned for a proper monologue and launched into a twisted tale about trying to bond with his sister by watching the incestuous Game of Thrones together for the first time. Later, he went in on how rough his hometown, Staten Island, can be, and also remembered a cool girl he was with the night he first tried stand-up, and this last tale had a dark but very funny twist.

Fox NFL Sunday

A gathering of NFL sports analysts attempted to cover football but, despite their best efforts, they could not stop discussing and speculating about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce's relationship. After a funny premise (the analysts were very deep Swifties), the crowd began murmuring about something off-screen before the real Kelce made a brief appearance.

I'm Just Pete

In this parody of the Barbie film's song "I'm Just Ken," Davidson plumbed the depths of his personal and professional life for a self-aware, somewhat bleak, but very real bit of autobiographical comedy that was very funny.

Wired Autocomplete Interview

A cast from a Marvel show took part in a Wired video interview segment, where questions emerged based on Google search auto completions. Davidson played Zach Elliot, who'd apparently been in the news for having violent diarrhea on a Delta flight. For a one-note bit, this was performed well.


In something of a period piece, Chloe Fineman played a type A, fastidious secretary in a sexist office space, though she seemed to presume some aspects of the job were more lurid than they really were. It's always great to see Fineman explore such an eccentric character, even when the premise is a tad uneven.

please don't destroy: the original princes of comedy

Davidson visited the pdd office and found them watching one of his earliest stand-up videos, which captured him as a teenager. Of course, this led to an amusingly absurd notion or two: what if the pdd boys weren't only once teenage comedians themselves, but also performed at Def Comedy Jam nights at the Apollo Theatre? What if John Mulaney also took that same stage?

Ice Spice

Backed up by two dancers, Ice Spice ambled through "In Ha Mood," which, despite its strobe lights and overwrought attempt to conjure a television spectacle, made little impact as a song.

For her second appearance, Ice Spice was introduced by Taylor Swift and, with a feature by Rema, "Pretty Girl" had a bit of pep to it, prompting playful twerking during its airy, up-tempo arrangement.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost began Update gently discussing the Middle East crisis before Michael Che dug into George Santos a couple of times. Jost made fun of disgraced Senator Bob Menendez, while Che made an amusing joke about Will Smith and Chris Rock.

Bowen Yang appeared as Christopher Columbus to defend his reputation shortly after Indigenous People's Day and claimed to have discovered all manner of things, which was funny.

Jost took a good shot at Russell Brand, and was soon put on the spot to live-read jokes Che wrote about "Ebony alerts" that California will issue when Black children go missing. Che then delivered a good joke about a Hindu temple opening in New Jersey, before Jost issued a trademark Spirit Airlines joke. Much to Jost's amusement, Kenan Thompson took to the desk as Colorado Buffaloes football coach Deion Sanders, whose colourful style, and approach has been making headlines. With Thompson on point and Jost barely able to contain himself, this was good.

Marley Who Used to Work Here

On a Star Trek-like ship's bridge, Bowen Yang played a retired former crew member named Marley who showed up at an inopportune time for the current staff. Though his nostalgic tour irritated both those unfamiliar with and knowledgeable about his work, Marley wound up with a pivotal role to play in this random sketch.

Nana's Bean Farm

During a day at the beach, Davidson's Chris got some bad news about his grandmother's bean farm and wanted to leave — but one of his friends, Rick (Andrew Dismukes), was too obsessed with having a photo taken of himself being buried in the sand to provide proper moral support. This had its moments but also ended suddenly and nonsensically.


Sarah Sherman played a patient at a gynaecologist's appointment, who made Davidson's OBGYN uncomfortable by applying a new makeup product on her vagina. This promptly turned into a ludicrous and frenetic promo for Glamgina, with cast members seemingly falling out of the sky to appear in it.

Factory vs. Feet Pics

At a roadhouse bar, a couple of figures accosted a factory worker, trying to convince him to leave his factory job to sell pictures of his feet and genitals. A strange bit centred around Davidson mixing it up with Kenan Thompson and Andrew Dismukes, this was a quintessential, raunchy, 12:55 sketch.


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