2018 was a rough year for many people, but the year proved to be especially difficult on Pete Davidson, after a whirlwind romance and engagement with Ariana Grande and some very public struggles with mental health. His return to the "Weekend Update" desk for the first Saturday Night Live episode of 2019 allowed Davidson to address his own well-being, but also allowed Davidson an excuse to invite John Mulaney to SNL to talk about The Mule, a film starring, and directed by, Clint Eastwood.
In December of 2018, Davidson posted a message on Instagram stating "I really don't want to be on this Earth anymore. I'm doing my best to stay here for you but I actually don't know how much longer I can last. All I've ever tried to do was help people. Just remember I told you so." Indiewire reports that soon after the post, multiple other celebrities publicly expressed concern, and the NYPD soon performed a wellness check and confirmed that Davidson was at 30 Rockefeller Plaza rehearsing for SNL. Pete Davidson's return to the "Weekend Update" desk this week — a place where he's frequently spoken about his own life — could have been used as yet another opportunity to address the world about how he's been post-breakup yet again.
Instead, he brought out Mulaney to make fun of a movie in which Clint Eastwood directs himself having multiple threesomes.
While the "Weekend Update" segment was mostly dedicated to the two comedians exchanging barbs about The Mule, which they both claimed to have seen on the film's opening day and is about Clint Eastwood working as a drug mule, the two still found time to get serious. After Davidson made a joke about "publicly threatening suicide," Mulaney encouraged Davidson to look him in the eyes and said "You are loved by many. We're glad you are okay ... Now back to The Mule."
While the segment arguably made light of what appears to have been a difficult period for Davidson, the segment also shows how the cathartic nature of cracking jokes with a good friend can help. Even if it's just making fun of something as ridiculous as a film that, according to Mulaney and Davidson, is like if the time that Clint Eastwood spoke to an empty chair at the 2012 Republican National Convention was turned into a movie.
Davidson, in particular, broke several times throughout the performance in a segment that not only drew acclaim on Twitter, but seemed to inspire joy in others who were happy to see that Davidson was having fun on SNL. People were also happy to see the comedic pairing of Mulaney and Davidson. The two SNL alum have been performing shows in the greater tri-state area around New York, suggesting that their review of The Mule will not be the last time that these two comedians work together, and that while The Mule may not have been the movie that Mulaney and Davidson expected, taking in the film may have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship.