Pete Davidson brings laughter to campus with eccentric personal anecdotes


Source: Nolan Robinson

A photo of Pete Davidson and NU students. Davidson performed a stand-up show at Ryan Auditorium during an A&O Productions comedy show.

Amy Li, Development and Recruitment Editor

Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson won the Northwestern crowd over on Saturday night with his delivery of a rowdy and racy stand-up set.

The 25-year-old related to the audience of more than 500 college students by finding humor in awkward, raucous and personal confessions at an A&O Productions comedy show in Ryan Auditorium. His performance touched on topics typical to his comedic style –– like drugs, women and masturbation.

Davidson was not afraid to share eccentric personal anecdotes, such as when he learned how to masturbate from his friend when he was 16. He was not aware that most boys his age masturbated to pictures of naked girls and told the story of his failed attempt with pictures of chairs from a Macy’s catalogue.

“It wasn’t working so I was like, ‘Alright, maybe I’m a mahogany guy,'” Davidson joked.

Comedy and political correctness don’t always go hand in hand, and Davidson was not one to tiptoe around sensitive subjects. His dark humor showed when the comedian told a controversial joke about people with intellectual disabilities.

At a party, one of Davidson’s friends told the comedian that his “severely mentally challenged” cousin is a huge fan of Davidson’s work, and Davidson said he wasn’t sure about whether he should be flattered.

Davidson jokingly argued that it is counterproductive to hold in laughter to be politically correct when intellectually disabled people have “the best comedic timing.” Although the crowd was tense at first, they began laughing along when Davidson called them out for holding back.

A&O co-chair and Medill senior Isabella Soto said A&O was aware of the risks associated with bringing a comedian on campus –– particularly a comedian with Davidson’s style of humor. However, she said she had faith that people who bought a ticket to the show were familiar with his brand and knew what to expect.

Soto said A&O was able to bring Davidson to campus through several working relationships the student group has with talent agencies. Davidson was available at the right time, and the organization found him to be “extremely of the moment.”

While the contracting process went smoothly, Soto said ticket sales were stressful. After ticket sales were delayed for two hours from the announced release time due to high demand, they sold out in 30 minutes.

“We knew he was big, but we didn’t expect the reaction we got from the NU community,” Soto said.

Jordan Rock, brother of comedian Chris Rock performed before Davidson. His stand-up included copious references to sex, drugs, and black popular culture.

During his set, Rock poked fun at Weinberg freshman Alexander Redding, who was sitting in the front row. Redding, however, was left far from feeling upset or embarrassed and instead said he found the show to be incredibly funny.

“It was probably one of the best experiences at Northwestern and in my life in general — just to be a part of the show, and communicate with them, and being able to laugh at myself,” Redding said.

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