Chad is leaving Studio 8H.
Pete Davidson, who joined “Saturday Night Live” as a relative unknown and has become a superstar whose presence graces gossip pages daily, is expected to leave “Saturday Night Live” after the broadcast of this weekend’s season finale, according to a person familiar with the matter. He is one of a handful of long-serving cast members including Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon whose tenure on the show has come up for scrutiny at the conclusion of recent seasons. Davidson joined the show in 2014 as a featured player at the age of 20, one of the youngest cast members in the program’s 47 seasons on air.
NBC declined to make producers at “SNL” available for comment.
His departure is likely to draw a new burst of attention to the long-running program, which typically uses its summer hiatus to recalibrate its cast of players and contributors. As more TV viewers migrate to streaming services to watch their favorite scripted dramas and comedies on demand, “SNL” has taken on new importance for NBC. Once relegated to airing after the late local news in a time slot network executives didn’t consider paramount, “SNL” now runs live across the U.S. all at once, meaning that it airs in primetime in certain parts of the country. “Saturday Night Live” in the 2020-2021 season was the most-watched entertainment program on TV among viewers between 18 and 49, the demographic most preferred by advertisers.
Early in his tenure, Davidson largely appeared only in segments on “Weekend Update,” where he often delivered self-deprecating stand-up routines. But he has developed a broader range during his time on “SNL.” In recent seasons, he has done impressions of celebrities like former New York governor Andrew Cuomo and actor Rami Malek, and has increasingly been involved in many of the show’s taped sketches. He often turns up as the recurring character Chad, an apathetic man who remains oblivious even in the face of dire or fantastic circumstances, like being stalked by a killer or going on a SpaceX mission.
Davidson’s time on the show has also brought its distractions, with gossip hounds fascinated by his dating history. During his “SNL” run, Davidson got engaged to singer Ariana Grande, though the relationship eventually broke off. Most recently, Davidson has been dating reality star and mega-influencer Kim Kardashian, who hosted the show this season.
In one famous 2018 incident, Davidson performed an “Update” routine about Dan Crenshaw, then a candidate for a U.S. Congressional seat. Davidson mocked Crenshaw’s appearance, even though Crenshaw lost an eye while serving on a U.S. SEAL team in Afghanistan. Davidson would return to “Update” to offer an apology after his remarks drew criticism. Davidson was also the star of the 2020 comedy, “The King of Staten Island,” directed by Judd Apatow, largely based on Davidson’s life story.
It is that biography that has drawn fans to the young comedian. Davidson was born on Staten Island and lost his father, a New York firefighter, who was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Davidson has been open about his struggles with mental health and the effect his father’s death had on his childhood.
His growing plate of projects has become more evident in recent weeks. In February, he missed a few broadcasts of this “SNL” season to take part in production of “The Home,” a horror movie being directed by James DeMonaco.
Though Davidson is leaving the program, he is expected to continue to have a relationship with Broadway Video, the production company responsible for “Saturday Night Live.” Davidson is a star, co-writer and executive producer on the new streaming series “Bupkis,” which is expected to appear on NBCUniversal’s Peacock. Lorne Michaels, Andrew Singer and Erin David of Broadway Video will also executive produce the series, which is being distributed by Universal Television. On Monday, NBC announced that Edie Falco will play the mother of Davidson’s character on the series.
In an appearance at NBCUniversal’s upfront presentation earlier this week, Davidson cracked a few jokes about the series and the streaming hub on which it will appear. “I can’t believe we are going to be on Peacock, the streamer that is responsible for so so many great shows like ‘MacGruber” and the reruns of ‘The Office,’” he joked, adding in deadpan fashion: “I’m here so the media will finally start paying attention to me.”
Watch Pete Davidson’s best ‘SNL’ sketches and appearances here.