Pete Davidson addresses the Israel-Palestine conflict, father's death in emotional “SNL” cold open

Pete Davidson addresses the Israel-Palestine conflict, father's death in emotional “SNL” cold open
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Saturday Night Live kicked off its 49th season this weekend, with Pete Davidson making his debut as a guest host and delivering a sobering message about the Israel-Palestine conflict.

"This week we saw the horrible images and stories from Israel and Gaza. And I know what you're thinking: 'Who better to comment on it than Pete Davidson,'" the former SNL cast member began. "Well, in a lot of ways, I am a good person to talk about it because when I was 7 years old, my dad was killed in a terrorist attack. So I know something about what that's like."

He continued, "I saw so many terrible pictures this week. Children suffering. Israeli children and Palestinian children. And it took me back to a really horrible, horrible place. No one in this world deserves to suffer like that, especially not kids."

Pete Davidson SNL Cold Open
Pete Davidson SNL Cold Open

Saturday Night Live/YouTube Pete Davidson hosting 'Saturday Night Live'

The comedian's father, Scott Davidson, was a New York City firefighter who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Davidson went on to describe the crucial role comedy played in his grieving process as a child and a turning point when his mother mistakenly bought the Eddie Murphy stand-up special Delirious thinking it was a Disney movie.

"When she heard the things Eddie Murphy was saying, she tried to take it away," he recalled. "But then she noticed something: For the first time in a long time, I was laughing again."

Setting the stage for a night of SNL sketches, he added, "I don't understand it. I really don't and I never will, but sometimes comedy is really the only way forward through tragedy."

SNL usually starts each episode with the host giving a monologue, but in somber times, including in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shootings and Paris terrorist attacks, it has opted for a more serious cold open paying tribute to those affected by the tragedies. After Davidson's cold open, the show cut to commercials before returning for a monologue in which he lightened the mood with jokes about Staten Island and watching the oft-incestuous Game of Thrones with his sister.

Davidson is no stranger to referencing his personal life in his stand-up, having told various stories about the loss of his father throughout his career, including in his comedy specials. During his hosting gig Saturday night, he also cracked jokes at his own expense, poking fun at his regrettable ferry purchase with Colin Jost and his reckless driving charge after he crashed into a Beverly Hills home in March.

Saturday Night Live airs live at 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT on NBC and Peacock. Watch Davidson's cold open above.

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