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Despite canceling a college performance in Philadelphia this week following his recent split from fiancée Ariana Grande, Pete Davidson fulfilled his promise to co-headline a political fundraiser with Judd Apatow in Los Angeles. A sold-out crowd filed into 280-seat Largo at the Coronet Saturday night to watch “Judd & Pete For America — A Benefit to Swing Left.”
Besides stand-up sets from the duo – who also shared 15 minutes of stage banter and revealed they are writing a screenplay together — the $100/person event included surprise spots from Tig Notaro (One Mississippi) and Pete Holmes (Crashing), as well as music from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench, and new Emmy-winner Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story).
Davidson was introduced moments after Tench concluded a poignant-as-ever rendition of “American Girl.” “Am I not going through enough that I have to fucking follow that?” Davidson protested. “This guy’s just gonna come out and play the saddest fucking song.” Sarcastically mimicking Apatow, he added, “‘Hi, here’s happy Pete!’” and “‘Guys, it’ll be fun, we’ll beat Trump.’”
The Saturday Night Live comedian and four-time Grammy nominee reportedly broke up last weekend. Their engagement was first made headlines in mid-June, a few weeks into their relationship. Davidson earned raucous cheers when he deadpanned, “Well, as you can tell, I don’t want to be here,” a line he later repeated (blaming the Knocked Up and Trainwreck director for “put[ting] me on the flyer”).
Riffs on Davidson’s lack of empathy, Al Gore and Hurricane Harvey led back to self-deprecating knocks on his romantic life, such as, “There’s a lot going on. Anybody have any open rooms? Anybody looking for a roommate?” and “I’ve been covering a bunch of tattoos, that’s fun. I’m fucking 0 for 2 in the tattoo department. Yeah, I’m afraid to get my mom tattooed on me because she’d leave.”
Although the audience mostly laughed, a few people were taken aback with the latter bit. “That’s a great joke,” he said. “Fuck all of you. That’s not fair, okay?” he insisted, wanting some credit for “the fact that I’m even a little funny right now.”
He also denied that he was “too sad to jerk off” (“Hell no. I’ve been jerking off non-stop”), and likened his parting from Grande to “every time that you think you get out of high school, but, like, you never really leave high school. That’s what it feels like.”
When Apatow returned, they traded stories about therapy, Donald Trump and his recent Oval Office visitor, Kanye West. Three weeks ago, as time ran out on SNL’s 44th season premiere, the rapper launched into a pro-Trump diatribe that made cast members visibly uncomfortable in footage later leaked. Not only did West wear his red “Make America Great Again” hat all week prior to the taping, but Davidson also said West originally wanted to spend his performances flying with his dancers.
“It’s a harness, and it’s meant for 10 second jokes in sketches,” Davidson explained. So during rehearsal, West “was trying to kick himself back around to the camera… I’ve just never seen someone be so defeated.”
Meanwhile, Apatow executive produced 2013’s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, featuring a West cameo. Director Adam McKay asked for Apatow’s help when West complained about a red jacket he was supposed to wear to play an MTV VJ. “I said, ‘Kanye is there a problem with your costume?’” Then Apatow echoed West’s shouted response: “‘This is like you went on Google Images, and you Googled ‘MTV VJ,’ and the first image that came up, that’s what you went with!’ Which is exactly what we did.” Thus West pledged to personally pull up “a thousand images,” but ultimately still wore the red jacket.
Apatow set the nothing-off-limits tone for the entire shindig when he began by wondering aloud, “Where do you think [Bill] Cosby is right now?,” posing hypotheticals about the disgraced star’s early prison tenure for three counts of aggravated indecent sexual assault (Cosby plans to appeal the decision). Soon after, Apatow delved into topics like teaching his own daughters about consent, and casting future Trump plaintiff Stormy Daniels in four of his films (including The 40-Year-Old Virgin).
Largo is the same venue where, six years ago, Notaro launched into a viral set by disclosing her breast cancer diagnosis. Now in great health, she took another risk with her brief Saturday night appearance, which took place almost entirely seated at a piano.
Notaro directed Ellen DeGeneres’ anticipated Netflix special, Relatable, out this December. But earlier this year, she attended the talk show host’s 60th birthday party, where a microphone and piano were set up for musician-guests who wanted to entertain. Adele was present, and the room wrongly anticipated that she would sing. Instead, after Pink took a turn at the keys, Notaro serenaded everyone with Adele’s biggest hit, “Hello,” although she did not know the words or notes. She reenacted the moment at Largo, cross-legged, pounding on random sharps and flats while holding the crowd’s gaze.
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