‘…Bupkis manages to develop the myth of Davidson’s solipsistic existence and generate enough laughs and earned pathos to justify itself…’

New on Peacock in the US, Bupkis is a new show that puts comic Pete Davidson centre stage in a fictionalised account of his own life; that’s a pitch that may be a straight ’nope’ for those immune to the charms of the Saturday Night Live comedian. But Davidson has aspirations to be more than a much gossiped about figure with a penchant for getting into high-profile trouble; much like Amy Schumer in her Life After Beth show, Bupkis attempts to get beyond the clichés of cringe comedy and emerge with something more profound in the patented naval-gazing style of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.

So Pete Davidson plays Pete Davidson, co-writing with Dave Sirus and Judah Miller, and the opening scene aims to shock. Left to his own devices in the Staten Island basement of his mother (Edie Falco), a stoned Davidson attempt to find some solace with a Virtual Reality headset; the details are probably best kept under wraps, but the result is a moment of genuine embarrassment so awful it might just have happened. Davidson says ‘I don’t understand why everyone isn’t doing this’ as he initially straps the headset on, setting up the joke perfectly with a heavy serving of self-deprecating hubris. The episode continues on a fairly squalid note; when he hears that his grandfather (Joe Pesci) is potentially dying, Davidson attempts to give him a big send-off, hiring a sex worker for the occasion. Things don’t work out as planned, but it’s already clear that no holds are barred in the world of Bupkis, and virtue signalling will not be an issue here.

Episode two, however, delves deeper than director Jason Orley’s opener, by opening up a little more about Davidson’s back-story. Davidson’s father died as a fire-fighter in 9/11, and flashbacks show how as a youth, Davidson was thrust into a sombre adult world; we see him standing at a urinal at a social event where he catches a glimpse of his uncle’s exposed member. This scene has genuine shock value, but also works with the notion of a kid growing up too quickly, and consequently struggling to grow up at all. The impact of 9/11 is something that has, correctly, been treated with genuine caution before in the mainstream media, but Bupkis is more interested in the personal now than the political, and the agonisingly insensitive interaction shown between a young Davidson and an ignorant, aggressive priest (Steve Buscemi) is a fairly striking and authentic condemnation of how the post-9/11 response played out.

Based on the first couple of episodes, Bupkis is a show that is certain to divide audiences; some will find Davidson’s lifestyle, albeit fictionalised, too much to take, and the result is open to accusations of self-indulgence But for those who can stay the tonally-varied course, Bupkis manages to develop the myth of Davidson’s solipsistic existence and generate enough laughs and earned pathos to justify itself. The word featured in the title means something of no value, but Bupkis does have something intimate to say; it shows Davidson to a far better advantage than SNL ever did, and marks a considerable development in Davidson’s ongoing journey to creative control of his life and work.

Bupkis streams on Peacock from May 4th 2023. Thanks to NBC for access to this title.


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  1. I can’t say this sounds very appealing.
    As for actors, well, there is a shortage of trained people in the trades. Why don’t we just fire all the actors and make them get real jobs doing something constructive? Because hollywood can now use holograms of everybody. So no need for actors anymore!

  2. I’ve really tried to like Davidson. I have hopes every time I watch one of his skits or stand-up bits. And there’s just nothing. It’s always bad material and his delivery is one-note and awful. I’ve never even cracked a smile at anything he’s done, and like I say it’s nothing against him as I’ve really tried. The trailer here just looks like more of the same. Not going to waste any more time on him.

    deeper that director

    • Thanks for the typo, caught it in time, cheers!

      I hear you, but I’d have to say this is the best I’ve seen of him, obviously the material is designed to put him in a good/bad light, but he’s much more sympathetic here than he has been. he’s got something IMHO, and this is a good platform for him to win over doubters.

      • He was a terrible Dr Who, very weathered since then, must have had a tough paper round.

        • Well blow me down I made typo! But I’ve learned from the master. Pete Davidson, the chap mentioned in this movie is the Pete Davison I was meaning. He wasn”t that great in All Creatures Great & Small either.

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