Pete Davidson on His Future at ‘SNL,’ His New Judd Apatow Comedy, and Why He’s Over Dating Celebrities

“King of Staten Island” star also talks quitting weed and masturbating while quarantined with his mother

June 10, 2020

At this point, self-quarantine has taken a toll on everyone in one way or another. For some, the struggle is working from home. For others, it’s maintaining contact with friends and family while social distancing. For actor, writer, and comedian Pete Davidson, it’s figuring out how to kick his weed habit and masturbate multiple times each day without getting caught by his mom.

“There’s just so much time to fill. Sometimes, I’m just jerking to fill the time,” he told Howard with a laugh during his Stern Show return on Wednesday.

Considering the 26-year-old “Saturday Night Live” veteran and “King of Staten Island” star currently lives in his mother’s basement, though, Howard wondered whether if he feared getting caught.

“Every day,” Pete said. “I make sure she’s either showering or cooking something,” Pete said. “I need at least a minute-and-a-half buffer to make sure that I don’t get caught. It’s my biggest fear right now.”

Though living with his mom presents its share of challenges, Pete said it’s the best thing he can do right now for his own wellbeing. “I’m doing pretty good,” he told Howard at one point. “Given the circumstances, I think everybody is dealing with this pandemic in their own way and what’s going on in the world, but for the most I’m staying positive. I’ve got a good support system here finally and I think I’m doing alright,”

Quarantine hasn’t curbed his enthusiasm for masturbation, but Pete has stopped smoking weed almost completely since going into lockdown. “In the pandemic I’ve smoked maybe like five times in three or four months, which is great because I used to be like 10 to 15 times a day, but I’ve been trying to clean up may act and get my shit together,” he said.

“I just didn’t like how impulsive my decisions were becoming and, you know, I am trying to grow up a little bit and I just felt, you know it would be nice to spend some of my life sober and, you know, just be a lot more healthy,” he continued.

Thankfully for “Saturday Night Live” fans, weed seems to be the only thing Pete’s quitting right now. Despite previously discussed backstage tensions, he told Howard he has another year left on his “SNL” contract and absolutely plans to return next season. Furthermore, he regretted airing any dirty laundry. “I think that was a conversation I could’ve had internally … I’m learning a lot and I make a lot of impulsive mistakes,” he told Howard. “I think I’m really lucky to be on that show, and I think this whole entire pandemic made me realize how lucky I am.”

“I really enjoy doing the ‘SNL at-Homes’ and I just think Lorne [Michaels] is the greatest, so I’ll stay as long as they allow me,” Pete continued.

Howard was curious about the origin of Pete’s recurring “SNL” character Chad, the monosyllabic lady’s man.

“It’s my only character and I’m sticking to it,” Pete laughed.

He said Chad was created by his “SNL” colleagues Mikey Day and writer Streeter Seidell. As Pete later learned, the character was based on Davidson’s backstage persona. “They were just kind of making fun of me, but I think it turned out for a good character,” he told Howard.

Howard said he especially enjoyed the way Pete pulls off physical gags while in character as Chad. “You’re a very good physical comedian,” he told him. “Is that something you enjoy?”

“That’s my favorite. I grew up watching [Chris] Farley and, you know, [John] Belushi, and I don’t think there’s anything better than just a dude smacking into a table. I just think it’s always really funny,” Pete responded.

While Pete is happy to stay in the limelight at Studio 8H, he’s decided to try out a different approach with his love life. After headline-grabbing relationships with celebrities ranging from model Kaia Gerber and actress Kate Beckinsale to pop superstar Ariana Grande (who joined him in the studio after his 2018 interview with Howard), Pete said he’s single now and no longer in the market for a famous girlfriend.

“This is really healthy for me. I think enough people have heard about my love life for a lifetime,” he told Howard. “I didn’t really want it to be like that, but you know you can only control so much.”

“It just makes it unenjoyable. It almost makes it impossible for [us] to progress as a couple because it becomes such an obstacle,” Pete continued, adding, “I’ve been really enjoying taking a seat back, working on myself, and, you know, masturbating.”

That may be for the best considering how his celebrity relationships have even managed to cause a stir within Pete’s own family. “My uncles were really proud of me,” he told Howard. “It was the first time any of them took an interest into my career. They were like, ‘whoa!’”

Howard at one point went so far as to declare Pete a “legendary cocksman.” Considering all the famous lovers he’s had, Howard wondered if he might ever write a book on the art of seduction.

“The thing is I have no idea what the fuck these girls are thinking,” Pete said.

If Pete feels withdrawal pangs from no longer having a famous girlfriend, he can always turn to his good friend Colson Baker for stories about high-profile romance. Baker, a rapper and actor better known by his stage name Machine Gun Kelly, is dating actress Megan Fox, who famously appeared in her underwear in his recent music video “Bloody Valentine.” Pete had plenty of kind words to say about Machine Gun, who co-starred alongside him in Netflix’s recent Mötley Crüe biopic “The Dirt.”

“We talk a couple times a week on the phone,” Davidson told Howard. “He’s a really great dude. I think you’d really love him.”

Kelly also has a part in Pete’s new heartfelt comedy “The King of Staten Island,” which Pete co-wrote with Dave Sirus and comedy legend Judd Apatow, who directed. The story is loosely based on Pete’s own life and the arrested development he suffered after the death of his father Scott Matthew Davidson, a firefighter and 9/11 first responder.

In “The King of Staten Island,” Pete’s character tries breaking free of his downward spiral by joining the fire department like his father had before him. In real life, Pete has of course turned to comedy and Howard wondered if acting and “SNL” had in some ways been his own salvation.

“I’m still kind of that guy,” Pete said. “I’m still living in my mom’s basement right now, but, uh, yeah, if I didn’t find comedy I think I’d be in a world of trouble. More than I already am.”

Howard wondered if shooting scenes in a firehouse were especially difficult for Pete.

“It was just sad because it was like, ‘Wow, this is what my dad did and if he was still around. He’d still be doing this,’” he said. “It was definitely really rough, but Judd was really good about it. He was really sensitive to my feelings and he made sure I was okay while we were filming.”

Pete became friendly with Apatow after making a walk-on cameo in his 2015 Amy Schumer film “Trainwreck.” “I feel really lucky getting Judd. When you get Judd, it’s like getting, like, Dr. Dre to like produce your album. It was really big for me. I appreciated it,” he told Howard.

At one point in the film, Pete’s character’s life gets turned upside down after his widowed mother (played by Marisa Tomei) starts dating a new firefighter (played by Stern Show veteran Bill Burr). Pete told Howard that plot point was fictional, though he did wish it would happen in real life. He said his mom hasn’t dated since his father passed, but he hopes the movie will help her realize it’s okay for her to move on with her life.

“I think she should be getting laid constantly after putting up with me and my sister her whole life. Nothing would make me happier than her getting banged out by, like, a backup NFL quarterback,” Pete joked.

“Why did your mom never date?” Howard asked.

“I was such a troublesome kid, I don’t think she felt like she had the time to do so. I feel like I kind of took that away from her,” he responded. “So, my hope now is that she starts dating and gets out there and really lives for herself because, you know, she just put so much into me and my sister.”

Pete said they spent several years writing “The King of Staten Island,” a few months shooting it last summer, and then eight months editing it into a film. He wasn’t a fan of staring at himself all day in the editing room, but that may have paled in comparison to what he endured already on the film’s press tour.

“We did a junket the other day and it was just people from like Germany being like, ‘So, Pete, your dad is dead. Your dad is dead and he’s never coming back. How’s the film?’”

Howard was happy to see Davidson star in his own movie, though he felt bad the coronavirus pandemic had forced “The King of Staten Island” to debut on demand instead of in theaters. While Pete conceded attending his own premiere sounded like fun, he’s just grateful the world will soon have something new to consume during quarantine.

“It’s definitely an odd time to put something out, but I’m happy people will have stuff to watch at home because I’m running out of stuff to watch, so I think it might be positive and nice to have it out there,” he told Howard.

“The King of Staten Island” debuts June 12 on demand.