A drove of 375 students formed a line in and around the ground floor of the William Pitt Union, ending at the Pizza Hut, Sunday night — though they weren’t there for cheesy bread.
By 8 p.m., more than a half-hour in advance, students gathered outside the WPU assembly room to see “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson perform stand-up.
Davidson, who got his start on television in the MTV series “Guy Code” in 2013, is the youngest current SNL cast member, at age 21. Davidson’s 2014 debut on the show was notable because his father, who was a New York City firefighter, famously died while responding to 9/11. Instead of avoiding the topic, however, Davidson has famously drawn on his ties to 9/11 for joke material.
After a scheduling conflict delayed the show nearly three weeks, the Pitt Program Council presented Davidson and a slew of comedic openers — including Pittsburgh native Andy Picarro and Jordan Rock, comedian Chris Rock’s younger brother.
After the popularity of Kenan Thompson’s PPC-organized appearance last year, PPC’s Lecture Director Sam Amorim thought another SNL member would be an easy crowd-pleaser. She thought right.
“Based upon the fact that the Kenan Thompson tickets sold out in 20 minutes and Pete Davidson tickets sold out within one day, we believe that we brought in what the students want to see,” Sam Amorim, PPC lecture director, said.
Davidson took to the stage at 9 p.m. amid cheers and applause, wearing a hoodie, jeans and a beanie with “DOPE” written across the side. That word would set the theme for most of the night, as Davidson drew massive cheers during his hour-long set.
Picarro, clad in a Pittsburgh Penguins shirt, opened the night with jokes about cats and how he might want kids — but only an ugly daughter because if she “wants to go to Aruba for her senior trip … she’s coming back.”
Rock followed Picarro by encouraging people to “pregame” his shows.
“You’ll be like ‘Kevin Hart is amazing,’” he said.
The longest of the openers, the bulk of Rock’s set had to do with his relationships with his “white friends” and how he gets the best weed from “white dudes that look like Jesus.”
Davidson’s act consisted of jokes about his relationship with his mother, his girlfriend, STDs, politics — or rather how he doesn’t understand them — and the bittersweet feeling of turning 21.
His biggest laugh of the night came early, with a raunchy anecdote about tricking his college roommates into thinking he was eating Doritos in bed late at night — he explained that he would rustle the bag to cover up the fact that he was masturbating.
Some of his other material didn’t have as much punch — his dark jokes about AIDS and suicide elicited strained chuckles — not genuine laughter — from the crowd.
Davidson was relaxed otherwise, leaning on the mic stand and delivering anecdotes casually. For jokes that didn’t land, he would end with a “Ya know?” or an “I don’t know,” under his breath.
Despite some of his weaker material, one quote sums up his jokes nicely.
“Some are for me, some are for you,” he said.
While Davidson’s quips weren’t for everyone, some students could hardly contain their obsession.
Risha Appadurai, a sophomore PPC committee member studying Political Science, was on Davidson’s side.
“I love Pete Davidson, and I love comedy writing,” she said. “I thought it was great, I laugh at everything. I’m obsessed with him. I want to write for SNL.”