Pete Davidson in poignant ‘SNL’ opening: ‘My heart is with everyone whose lives have been destroyed this week’

Pete Davidson delivered moving remarks in the opening minutes of 'Saturday Night Live' on October 14, 2023. (NBC/SNL)
(CNN) — “Saturday Night Live” host Pete Davidson addressed “the horrible images and stories from Israel and Gaza” in deeply personal remarks during the opening minutes of the long-running sketch show’s new episode.

Davidson’s emotional comments particularly focused on the children who have suffered as a result of the conflict.

Davidson spoke about his personal connection to coping with tragedy and terrorism after his father, Scott Davidson, a New York City firefighter, died in the 9/11 attacks.

Read his full statement below.

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? (laughter)

Well, in a lot of ways, I am a good person to talk about it because when I was seven years old, my dad was killed in a terrorist attack. So, I know something about what that’s like.

I saw so many terrible pictures this week of 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, especially not kids.

After my dad died, my mom tried pretty much everything she could do to cheer me up. I remember one day when I was eight, she got me what she thought was a Disney movie but it was actually the Eddie Murphy stand up special, “Delirious.” We played it in the car on the way home and when she heard the things that Eddie Murphy was saying, she tried to take it away. But then she noticed something, for the first time in a long time I was laughing again.

I don’t understand it. I really don’t. I never will. But sometimes comedy is really the only way forward from tragedy.

My heart is with everyone whose lives have been destroyed this week. But tonight I’m going to do what I’ve always done in the face of tragedy and that’s try to be funny. Remember, I said try. And live from New York, it’s Saturday Night.

“SNL” returned with Davidson as the host after a months-long delay due to the writers’ strike. Davidson was scheduled to host in May before the strike commenced.

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