When Pete Davidson avoids wearing stage makeup on Saturday Night Live, it's a decision that I respect, but it concerns me.

Davidson has always rocked a sultry, exhausted, baggy-eyed look, but lately things seem to have spiraled out of control.


Whenever Davidson goes notably absent from SNL, he'll reappear with jokes about getting lost inside Stranger Things' Upside Down. He'll then emerge in his usual spot as a guest on Weekend Update alongside Colin Jost (who appears to be glowing with health in comparison, perhaps because he's married to a tree).

Throughout it all, I can never stop thinking about the sheer size and scope of the vast plum-colored shadows that surround Davidson's eyes. Like black holes or those doorways to the Upside Down, they almost resemble portals to other worlds.

Let's be clear: I'm a fan of Pete Davidson's appearance (against the majority of my better judgment). You have to admit that there's something to the super-tall, bleach-blonde, white-toothed, tattooed, I'm-clinging-to-life-by-the-smallest-thread aesthetic that he so effortlessly displays.

Or there once was. Now, Pete appears to be seriously pushing the boundaries between heroin chic and vampire who's gone vegan to save the planet. Since seeing him on the show, I haven't been able to sleep because I can't stop thinking about how little he's probably slept in the past few weeks. If anything, all this has only made my Pete Davidson obsession worse.

Ariana Grande - pete davidson (Audio) www.youtube.com

Weekend Update: Pete Davidson on Sexually Transmitted Diseases - SNL www.youtube.com

Sometimes I do wonder why I and so many others are attracted to Pete Davidson and similarly bedraggled, frequently bedridden types. There's that old, mostly incorrect stereotype that argues that women are only drawn to bad boys, but even if that stereotype were true, Davidson isn't exactly a James Dean or Ted Bundy. So why do we (and by we I mean me, Ariana Grande, Kate Beckinsale, and probably you, if you've read this far) love him so much?

Pete Davidson scholarship is a growing field, so there are plenty of theories. It could be the BDE, but some thinkers propose that Davidson is so alluring simply because he seems like a genuinely nice guy. Perhaps all his frank openness about his disorders, illnesses, and marijuana addiction make him seem honest, like the kind of guy who wouldn't, say, assault women and then lie about it.

Context could also have something to do with it. Urban Dictionary defines the Pete Davidson Effect as "when women are influenced by their peers in determining if a man is attractive or not."

There's also the innate impulse I have to try to help him, an impulse that I've intellectually transcended but that still lurks in my subconscious, rearing up like a recurring dream. This is absolutely the same impulse that Bailey Gismert, the teenage girl played by Heidi Gardner who appeared later on Weekend Update, thinks she could probably "help the Joker." (Davidson even connected himself to the Joker while on Weekend Update, saying, "And by the way Colin, I don't know if you've seen The Joker, but I think you should start being way nicer to me.")

Weekend Update: Bailey Gismert on Fall 2019 Movies - SNLwww.youtube.com

And perhaps this impulse is connected to an even more misguided and more deeply buried belief that some of us have that says if we only find someone more messed up than we are, we will gain the empathy and understanding that we really should have given to ourselves all along.


Or perhaps it's more. Perhaps Davidson's popularity and continued resonance are indicative of some kind of existential millennial/Gen-Z exhaustion, narrowly hidden under the guise of nihilistic meme-inspired humor—or could it be nothing at all?

In the end, Pete Davidson's dark eye circles have reminded me that I cannot save Pete Davidson or the Pete Davidsons of this life (only structural healthcare reform and a new form of religion that reintegrates meaning into our existence can do that job). I can only love them from afar, write articles about them on the Internet, and convince myself that I'm only ironically listening to "thank u, next." Unless...

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Karens. Even if you don't know them by name, you know who they are.

Karens have been asking to speak to managers all over American suburbia ever since Kate Gosselin debuted her infamous reverse-mullet on Jon and Kate Plus 8 in 2007. "Karens"—the collective nickname for middle-aged entitled white women who love nothing more than being pains in your ass—have been walking among us for quite some time, but as shelter-in-place orders and mask mandates have taken over the world, the presence of Karens has become even more apparent.

Last weekend, a Karen went viral in a since-deleted Tweet for a reason only Karens would empathize with. Jason Vicknair, a 40-year-old man from Allen, Texas, was just trying to enjoy his first date night out in three months with his wife at a Tex-Mex restaurant called Mi Cocina. Things took a turn for the worse.

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Andrew Yang's Tweets to Shane Gillis and Bowen Yang Is the Best "SNL" Skit in Years

New "SNL" cast member Shane Gillis has a history of making racist, misogynistic, and bigoted commentary as part of his "comedy." Andrew Yang gave a thoughtful reason why we should forgive him.

Update: SNL recently announced that Shane Gillis has been fired a mere four days after being hired.

A spokesperson for the show issued a statement on behalf of executive producer Lorne Michaels: "After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL. We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as comedian and his impressive audition for SNL. We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard."

Shane Gillis instantly responded on Twitter by doubling down on his earlier non-apology for his inflammatory comments. He posted: "I'm a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can't be taken away. Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself at SNL, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction. I respect the decision they made. I'm honestly grateful for the opportunity. I was always a mad tv guy anyway."

Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang is pro-Universal Basic Income, pro-usage of dad finger guns, anti-tie, and, apparently, anti-Cancel Culture.

The 2020 Democratic hopeful weighed in on the recent controversy over one of SNL's three new hires, Shane Gillis. In a since-deleted episode of his podcast, Matt and Shane's Secret Podcast, Gillis says, "Chinatown's f*cking nuts...Let the f*cking ch*nks live there." In another since-deleted clip, Gillis specifically calls Yang a "Jew ch**k." In response, Yang posted a Twitter thread speaking out about how it's "hurtful," but he "forgive[s] Shane, as the guy he called a slur," because "we have, as a society, become excessively punitive and vindictive concerning people's statements and expressions we disagree with or find offensive."

Gillis posted a pseudo-apology last week in the typical cop-out formula of, "I'm sorry that YOU were offended." He defended his language, saying, "I'm a comedian who pushes boundaries. Sometimes I miss." He added, "I'm happy to apologize to anyone who's actually offended by anything I've said."

In response, Yang wrote a measured, thoughtful response: a rarity when it comes to racial commentary, especially its usage in comedy. The 44-year-old tech entrepreneur posted, "I prefer comedy that makes people think and doesn't take cheap shots. But I'm happy to sit down and talk with you if you'd like." He bluntly added, "I've been called ch*nk and g*ok any number of times in my life. It can be extraordinarily hurtful to feel like you are somehow not part of the only country you have ever known. I have certainly felt that - the churning sense of alienation, anger and marginalization."

The clips included Gillis's other inflammatory comments, including epithets about Muslims, the LGBTQ+ community, and women. Most attention has been focused on his anti-Asian remarks in light of the fact that Gillis joined SNL alongside the show's first Asian-American full-time cast member, Bowen Yang. SNL has a long history of "risky" humor to comment on racial tensions (even though the comedic staple has declined miserably in recent decades). But all good satire has a core of empathy that makes pointed criticism about its subject; in contrast, Gillis's jokes were clearly shock-jock locker room humor, geared towards the lowest common denominator.

While many comedians have weighed in on the controversy, namely the question of whether or not Gillis should be allowed to keep his new job, Yang shared his opinion that Gillis should be allowed to stay: "For the record, I do not think he should lose his job. We would benefit from being more forgiving rather than punitive. We are all human."

Andrew Yang Twitter

In truth, Gillis's hiring (despite his past comments) and Yang's response both illustrate the complicated and strange racial prejudice that still surrounds Asian-Americans. According to the last census in 2010, Asian-Americans only comprise about 5% of the population. That would explain the media's scant representation of Asian faces, with only 1% of Hollywood's leading roles being given to Asian actors (even after Crazy Rich Asians' box office success last year).

As such, Bowen Yang's addition to SNL was met with wide acclaim as a long-overdue step forward in the show's 44-season run. That includes Andrew Yang, who congratulated the comedian on twitter, saying, "Hope you play me on SNL. 😀👍" Imagine if the new season opens with (Bowen) Yang playing (Andrew) Yang responding to a racist comment in a thoughtful, satirical commentary. That's probably too high an expectation for the dying sketch comedy show, but America can dream.

As a Muslim-American comedian and former production staff member for SNL, Dean Obeidallah, noted: "The words [Gillis] said may have already made him too toxic for the iconic late-night show. But regardless of what happens, the hope is that people like Gillis can be encouraged to learn and evolve. Of course, the person needs to be willing to do the work for that to happen."