“I gotta change it up. Change the way people see me. They think I’m, like, a joke,” laments comedian, actor, and Saturday Night Live vet Pete Davidson to his grandpa (played by Joe Pesci) in the premiere of this semi-autobiographical series.
For Davidson, who is playing a heightened version of himself, it’s a monumental task. Also a producer and co-writer, he has a rep for erratic behavior outshining his talent. “He’s also sincere, warm, kind and loyal,” executive producer Judah Miller offers, adding that disparities between loved ones’ views of Davidson and the public’s “is a theme we’re exploring.”
(Credit: Heidi Gutman/Peacock)
Davidson first mined his life for 2020’s film The King of Staten Island,and he’s no angel, as Bupkis — a variant spelling of the Yiddish word bubkes, meaning nothing — further reveals. He’s a guy who parties hard, binges on TV and lives in Mom’s (Edie Falco) basement. His dad, an FDNY firefighter, died on 9/11 when Davidson was 7; series flashbacks show his uncle (Bobby Cannavale) messily stepping in.
Present-day Pete deals with celeb annoyances like internet haters and, naturally, sees a shrink, played by Charlie Day; other top-tier comedy guests on the show include the likes of Ray Romano and Kenan Thompson. The casting suits. “Pete’s life is ridiculous,” Miller says, suggesting that “absurdist elements” may not be made up. A men’s night out with Grandpa and family friend “Uncle Roy” (Brad Garrett) leads to a mighty strange moment on TV!
Pete can be dreamy too. The first day Pesci was on set, Miller says, Davidson serenaded him with Dean Martin songs. “Volare” or “Confused”? We really couldn’t say.
Bupkis, Series Premiere, Thursday, May 4, Peacock
This is an excerpt from TV Insider’s May issue. For more in-depth, reported coverage devoted to streaming shows from the publishers of TV Guide Magazine, pick up the issue, currently on newsstands or purchase it online here. You can also subscribe to TV Insider Magazine here now.