“Saturday Night Live” cast member and Staten Island native Pete Davidson used his paid position at NBC on Saturday to make fun of his hometown and lecture restaurant owners protesting the latest COVID restrictions threatening their livelihoods.
“The bar, shockingly, is in a neighborhood with the second-highest COVID infections in all of New York, so the rule is that they’re supposed to let people eat or drink outside, and the owner said no one wants to do that because they’ll go out of business,” Davidson said, before delivering several punchlines about his fellow Staten Islanders.
“So I take it you found these protests frustrating?” asked his co-star, Colin Jost.
“Yeah, man, they’re making us look like babies,” Davidson said, before advocating that everyone stay at home.
After deputy sheriffs closed Mac’s Public House in Staten Island Tuesday night and arrested general manager Danny Presti, the pub reopened its doors Friday, in defiance of city and state restrictions on bars and restaurants.
Davidson, of course, made these comments from behind a desk in a cushy job where COVID lockdown orders have not impacted his source of income. In fact, The New York Times reported last week that “SNL” was able to find a loophole to keep their live studio audience indoors by paying them as “essential employees” of NBC. A NBCUniversal spokesperson told the Times that the show closely followed state department guidelines, but did not specify how many audience members were paid.
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A local State Island activist known as Mr. Tobacco responded to Davidson’s jokes on Monday, ripping the comedian’s words as “disgusting” and a betrayal to the Staten Island community.
“The ignorance level is so high now that you have mega-millionaires who are in the national spotlight, like the folks on ‘Saturday Night Live’ … making fun of their friends and the local business owners who are broke and crushed and bankrupt,” Mr. Tobacco said. “What they want to do is go on national TV and try to humiliate the little man while he’s down.”
Mr. Tobacco referred to Davidson by his nickname, “The King of Staten Island,” when discussing how the community supported Davidson and his mother after his dad’s death on 9/11.