Pete Davidson bid farewell to Saturday Night Live with a heartfelt message and a joke about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock.
Davidson joined “Weekend Update” co-anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che at the anchor desk on Saturday night to say goodbye.
“Hello, Colin and Che, and millions of people only watching to see if I bring up Kanye,” he quipped.
“Yeah Pete. You’ve had a weird year,” Jost said, hinting at Davidson’s relationship with Kim Kardashian and his public feud with her ex-husband Kanye West. “So are you officially leaving?” Jost asked. “Yeah man,” Davidson responded. “I’m free.”
Davidson mentioned the backlash he faced in 2018, for making fun of Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw for wearing an eye patch after losing an eye while serving in Afghanistan. Davidson compared the fallout from the Crenshaw joke to Chris Rock getting slapped by Will Smith for joking about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head at the Oscars, without apparently knowing she has alopecia.
“I was simply making a joke about someone’s appearance, without realizing that the medical condition behind it was a sensitive issue, which is an SNL alumni tradition,” he said to laughter as a picture flashed on screen of former SNL cast member Chris Rock reacting to Will Smith’s slap.
[Watch the video below]
Davidson added that he would miss SNL creator and executive producer, Lorne Michaels, who welcomed him to the show in 2014.
“He always gives me the best advice,” Davidson noted. “I called him and said, ‘Lorne, I just got engaged to Ariana Grande after dating for two weeks.’ And he said ‘Oh, hold on for dear life.'”
He ended his goodbye on an emotional note.
“I appreciate SNL always having my back,” he said, “and thank you to Lorne for never giving up on me or judging me even when everyone else was, and for believing in me and allowing me to have a place that I could call home with memories that will last a lifetime, so thank you guys.”
Fellow SNL cast members Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Kyle Mooney are also leaving the show.
Earlier in the “Weekend Update,” Bryant appeared alongside her trend forecasting partner Bowen Yang for a look at what will be “in” and “out” this summer. At the end of the segment, Michael Che and Bowen Yang presented Bryant with a bouquet of roses and they each gave her a goodbye kiss on the cheek.
Kyle Mooney appeared in some of the night’s sketches but didn’t officially say goodbye.
Kate McKinnon said her goodbye in the space-themed cold open. As the sketch ended, she boarded a space ship to leave Earth for good.
“Well, Earth. I love you, thanks for letting me stay awhile,” McKinnon said as she fought back tears, adding, “Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night Live.”