Pete Davidson Joins ‘Saturday Night Live’ As New Featured Player

EXCLUSIVE: “I just turned 20 and it’s over, I’m not going to make it,’ comedian Pete Davidson said in his set on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in April. He couldn’t have been further from the truth. The fast-rising stand-up has just been handpicked by Saturday Night Live boss Lorne Michaels as the only new featured player to join the venerable NBC late-night sketch show in its upcoming 40th season. a rep for SNL confirmed to Deadline.

SNL-imageSNL is coming off a transitional season in which the show introduced a whopping six new featured players in the fall: Kyle Mooney, Beck Bennett, Noël Wells, John Milhiser, Brooks Wheelan as well as Michael Patrick O’Brien, who made a move to the stage after a four-year stint as a writer on the show. The six were joined by another rookie, Sasheer Zamata, in January. Three of the seven will not be coming back as SNL released Wells, Milhiser and Wheelan in July. Additionally, O’Brien is returning to the writers ranks of the show.

Related: Fox Grooms 20-Year-Old Comedian Pete Davidson As Primetime Breakout With ‘Sober Companion’ Role: Video

SNL is adding two rising New York comedians to its cast ranks this season: Davidson and Michael Che, who was named co-anchor of “Weekend Update” alongside Colin Jost after serving as a writer on the show the past two seasons and leaving for a brief stint on as a correspondent The Daily Show With Jon Stewart this summer.”Weekend Update” co-anchor Cecily Strong is returning to performing on the show full time. Meanwhile, Nasim Pedrad departed after five seasons to co-star in the new Fox comedy Mulaney, executive produced by Michaels. The final cast for SNL‘s 40th season includes Che, Davidson, Jost, Bennett, Mooney, Strong, Zamata, Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, Taran Killam, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Moynihan, Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson. The anniversary season kicks off September 27 with host Chris Pratt.

A native of Staten Island, NY, Davidson started his career in comedy at 16, using it as a therapeutic outlet after losing his father, a New York City firefighter, on 9/11. Making his rounds in the New York comedy scene, he was spotted by Nick Cannon who took him under his wing. Davidson was a semi-regular on the revival of Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out improv comedy series on MTV2 last year, leading to a gig on the MTV2 comedy/reality show Guy Code. Davidson, who dropped out of college, made his film-acting debut in Cannon’s direct-to-video School Dance.

In summer 2013, then-19-year-old Davidson was among the New Faces at the Montreal Comedy Festival, a list that also included Wheelan. A couple of months later, Davidson was a standout at Fox‘s Night of Comedy showcase at the Improv. The network brass loved him and quickly signed him to a talent holding deal. That led made his TV acting debut with a small guest-starring role on the network’s freshman comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, starring SNL alum Andy Samberg. Davidson then got his first network test for Fox’s comedy pilot Sober Companion and landed the role on the spot, with Fox casting executives hailing his breakout potential. The pilot was one of the frontrunners but the network ended up not picking up any of its comedy pilots to series.

In April, Jimmy Kimmel Live! booked Davidson for a rare stand-up performance on the show. Watch his set above. Davidson is repped by ICM Partners, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and attorney Josh Sandler.

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