The Mighty Logo

Pete Davidson Jokes About His Suicide Post on SNL's 'Weekend Update'

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Comedian Pete Davidson jokingly addressed the concerning suicide Instagram post he posted in December in which he shared he didn’t “want to be on this earth anymore.”

In SNL’s Weekend Update segment on Saturday, Davidson and fellow comedian John Mulaney joked primarily about the Clint Eastwood movie, “The Mule,” but also referenced Davidson’s mental health. Davidson has been open about his diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD) in the past.

“I’ve been spending time with Pete to try to show him you can have a life in comedy that is not ‘insane.’ A sober, domestic life,” Mulaney said.

“Yeah and after observing John’s life, I publicly threatened suicide,” Davidson said while laughing, referencing the now-deleted Instagram post.

Davidson followed the comment with an apology: “I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t make that joke, but it is funny.” 

Though his comment might strike some as irreverent or making light of a something that should be taken seriously, for many folks who have lived through mental health struggles, dark humor can be a powerful coping tool.

Mulaney seemed to understand and responded in a sincere, lighthearted way.

“Pete, look at me, look me in the eye. You are loved by many, and we are glad you are OK. Now back to ‘The Mule.’”

Learning how to respond to a friend who makes jokes about their mental illness can be difficult sometimes, but is important. This is something Mighty contributor Alicia Raimundo addressed in her piece, “5 Ways to Support Your ‘Strong Friend’ When They Are Struggling.” In times when you don’t know how to support your “strong friend,” she said:

Remind them you are there for them. Even if they are fine, happy, silly, whatever. Frequently reminding folks that you are happy to talk to them about hard stuff they are going through creates the space and permission to do so if they ever need it.

Sometimes a friend won’t indicate that what you’ve said matters to them. For example, as Mulaney told Davidson he was loved by many, Davidson sarcastically said, “Oh, thank you, John!”

Regardless of the response you get, it’s important to keep reminding your loved ones who are struggling that they matter. You never know, your words might be just what a struggling friend might need.

Screenshot via Saturday Night Live YouTube channel

Originally published: January 22, 2019
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home