As far as I’m concerned, “an evening with Pete Davidson” are the five most beautiful words in the English language. I can see why Netflix dedicated two of 77 seconds in the Pete Davidson: Alive in New York trailer to this title card. This trailer for Davidson’s impending comedy special dropped yesterday and it is not for the faint of heart—I’m not sure whether it’s been edited with the intention of sparking controversy, whether it’s a highlight reel of the best jokes the special has to offer, or whether all the good stuff awaits us on February 25th. What I’ll recommend for now is watching the video on repeat with the sound off. That is where you’ll find Davidson looking like a tall glass of Four Loko. It’s the dawn of a new day for Pete Davidson, one in which an unhemmed “Snake Love, Not War” t-shirt has been replaced by a crisp suit.
I haven’t been able to shake this idea I read in Dayna Tortorici’s spellbinding n+1 essay called “My Instagram,” which posits that we respond to instances of beauty with an urge to imitate or replicate them. (Tortorici draws from the essayist Elaine Scarry, who reminds us that “when the eye sees someone beautiful, the whole body wants to reproduce the person.”) So, this explains my desire to copy-and-paste Davidson’s outfit, and here’s how I’d recommend approximating it: First, a horchata-colored t-shirt with a substantial collar band, like the Trash tee from Everybody.World. Next come these Entireworld trousers and these black socks with a fabric blend I swear by. This COS blazer is a perfect dupe for Pete’s if you don’t mind me saying, and then there’s the arduous task of keeping a pair of white Adidas sneakers spotless in a year when a picture of two mice squabbling over food wins a wildlife photography award. If you asked me yesterday: “Does Pete Davidson tuck his shirts into his pants?” I would have said no, and I would have been wrong! The outfit is cemented in Davidson’s aesthetic with the beads around his wrist: One can’t help but wonder if one is a friendship bracelet from Kieran Culkin.
With his first official comedy special in the books, it looks like Davidson is operating at start-your-day-with-hot-water-and-lemon levels of productivity: His semi-autobiographical Apatow movie The King of Staten Island debuts at SXSW in March, he’s slated to make his DC Extended Universe debut in 2021’s Suicide Squad, and he’s launching a “weed company” circa April 2020, all while still dipping in and out of SNL episodes. How fast can Guy Raz get him on “How I Built This”?
Here are some topics I both hope and doubt Davidson’s special will cover: the time he and Julia-Louis Dreyfus kissed (nobody talks about this enough); if he wants to read Colin Jost’s forthcoming memoir A Very Punchable Face for the MR Review of Books with me; and the Safdie Brothers’ movie Good Time. (I tend to get along best with people whose views on the movie Good Time oppose mine, and Davidson delivers this in spades—lest we forget when Davidson appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to promote his “10 seconds” in Set It Up and played the trailer for the Safdie’s already-released feature instead.)
What’s my position on the polarizing Pete Davidson? Glad you asked. We’ll call it “fervent admirer.” This stems from my perception of him as one of most unabashedly human celebrities stirring up internet traffic this century. If you’re not endeared to him but you are open to the possibility, I recommend watching this video of Pete getting dressed by Queer Eye’s Tan France. That’s one way I’ll be biding my time until the clock strikes February 25th.