Pete Davidson's 'Weekend Update' About Kevin Love's Panic Attack Gets Mixed Reactions
Basketball player Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers has gotten a lot of positive attention this month for an essay he published in The Players’ Tribune called “Everyone Is Going Through Something.” In the piece, he admits he once had a panic attack in the middle of a basketball game, and reminds everyone that “you’re not weird or different for sharing what you’re going through.”
The piece was also the topic of one of “Saturday Night Live’s” Weekend Update segments last Saturday, performed by “SNL” cast member Pete Davidson, who has a history of speaking up about mental health himself. Last September, he revealed on Marc Mahon’s “WTF” podcast he had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Ever since, he’s frequently used his spot on Weekend Update to talk about his experiences with mental health.
But some thought Davidson’s bit — which advised Love to “stay in his lane” when it came to writing about mental health — was unfairly critical of Love’s impact.
There are often mixed feelings when a celebrity opens up about an experience with mental health. While of course, more mental health talk and more vulnerability is never a bad thing, it can leave some feeling like you can only get recognized if you’re well-known — or like less common or more severe mental illnesses get left out of the conversation. In a piece about this very thing, Mighty community member Emily D. said:
I feel conflicted. On one hand, I feel empowered that mental health is being discussed on a larger stage. On the other, it’s not often broken down and only discussed on a surface level. In addition, there’s some issues of romanticizing mental illness, especially anxiety and depression. Overall, it depends on a lot of factors.
Community member Ian S. was a little more critical:
It annoys me, as I think well, why is their mental health taken with overwhelming sympathy and empathy, and mine is taken with a view that I’m just lazy or a benefit scrounger? It doesn’t change people’s perception of mental illness, it just enhances a more endearing approach to the given celebrity. Just my opinion.
Davidson took a similar cynical view in his segment, explaining that while he was glad Love opened up about having a panic attack, he wasn’t that impressed by the essay as a whole.
It’s totally cool that he had a panic attack, but if you’re going to write an article about being unstable, leave it to the big boys, alright? I’m sorry you missed your three-pointer Kev, but I’ve been in therapy since I was 6 years old and I wanted to kill myself when I was 8. Tough news about your rebounds though.
Some felt Davidson meant Love’s panic attack wasn’t a big deal, and therefore having anxiety wasn’t a big deal. “Pete Davidson’s during the Weekend Update making fun of Kevin Love’s anxiety and panic attack disgusted me. Everyone’s mental health matters, no matter the severity,” one Twitter user wrote.
I’m late to the game on this one… but Pete Davidson’s during the Weekend Update making fun of Kevin Love’s anxiety and panic attack disgusted me. Everyone’s mental health matters, no matter the severity. @nbcsnl is NOT what it used to be. Do better.
— Sara Carnes (@SaraCarnes) March 20, 2018
Yeah, @SNL make fun of an athlete who told his millions of young, male followers that it's okay to talk about your mental illness, and you don't have to "be a man" and "tough it out" like toxic masculinity tells you to. Classy!
— Erin (@sendit_sweetie) March 19, 2018
Pete Davidson’s mental health ‘speech’ rubbed me the wrong way. Why dismiss someone else’s experience to say your experience is harder
— hannah (@NOWAYILlED) March 18, 2018
Jesus Christ Pete Davidson, cut it out with the oppression Olympics. Terrible.
“I gotta say that so people won’t get mad.”
Yeah too fucking late bro.
— Mary (@dainenyu) March 18, 2018
Pete Davidson’s monologue during Weekend Update trivializing Kevin Love’s anxiety admission disgusted me. Everyone’s mental health matters, no matter the severity. I found it immature and disrespectful. Pete, do better. #SNL
— Emily Feldmesser (@emilyfeldmesser) March 18, 2018
Pete Davidson didn’t do anything for mental health, but discourage famous people with a huge platform, from ever opening up a dialogue.
— Christopher Lepore (Vincent Adultman) (@Clepore44) March 18, 2018
Others saw the segment differently. While many celebrities have opened up about anxiety in the past few years, people with borderline personality disorder don’t often see themselves represented in the media, Some thought Davidson’s comments were relatable, and that brushing off Love’s essay was making a point about how we tend to pay more attention to those whose disorders have become more “acceptable.”
Ok, I agree. Don’t minimize people’s struggles with mental illness. But people are missing the point of Pete Davidson’s WU bit. He’s saying we should ALWAYS care and talk about mental illness; not just when a person in a position of privilege talks about it. https://t.co/HsTSMMlS1S
— Danielle Cooper (@mizdaniellec) March 18, 2018
I can’t describe extremely accurately the feeling I get every time Pete Davidson comes on SNL to talk about being mentally ill, but whenever I see him talk about mental illness so frankly and funnily, it makes my mentally ill heart glow and feel a little more comfortable.
— Kate Cipolla, Seductive God of Thunder (@CipollaKate) March 19, 2018
— Vincent Fitzgerald LCSW (@scribetherapist) March 19, 2018
pete davidson telling people with anxiety attacks to stay in their lane and to leave mental illness to the big boys is so me
— molly (@mollyhapa_) March 19, 2018
@nbcsnl Could you please get this message to Pete Davidson: as someone who also suffers from mental illness, thank you so much for making us feel empowered, funny and, god forbid, normal. Thank you.
— William Johnson ???? (@SecureImmaturT) March 19, 2018
No offense but Pete Davidson is the mental health awareness icon we need cause he's brutally honest about it all even if it makes bitches uncomfortable
— ma♱rs (@_mxrz) March 18, 2018
every time pete davidson openly talks about being mentally ill, people with mental illnesses grow stronger, one day we will take over the world
— alex ☁️ (@robbedsettos) March 18, 2018
I think Pete Davidson’s bit about Kevin Love went over some people’s head. He was making a point that it doesn’t matter how rich or famous you are, you can still have a mental illlness. He wasn’t actually making fun of Kevin’s panic attack. #SNL
— Beth Holler (@BethHoller) March 18, 2018
What did you think of Davidson’s segment? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.