Pete Davidson covers Cheap Trick on an instrument he’s never played—watch
With a slew of acting credits ranging from the hilarious antics on Saturday Night Live to a serious reflection on life in The King Of Staten Island and the upcoming action-packed The Suicide Squad, it’s clear Pete Davidson is always up for a challenge.
This still rings true outside of acting as the comedian hit The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon for the “Random Instrument Challenge” on April 6. Tasked with figuring out instruments neither Davidson nor Jimmy Fallon has played, they took on covers of Cheap Trick, Miley Cyrus, Madonna and more.
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One by one, the duo pulled cards to see which song they had to play. Once selected, Tariq Trotter—aka Black Thought of the Roots who also serve as Fallon’s house band—randomly grabbed another card with an instrument. After their 30-second performance, the Roots had to guess which song it is in order for them to get a point.
Fallon was up first, performing Cyrus’ “Party In The U.S.A” on a long wooden flute. Struggling to get the instrument to actually produce noise, Black Thought chimes in with his guess of Sex Pistols’ “God Save The Queen.” Inadvertently giving them a clue, Fallon responds with “Why would you guess ‘God Save The [Queen]’? No, it’s not a punk-rock song.”
Davidson went next, hilariously attempting to play the Commodores’ “Brick House” on a synthesizer called an Omnichord. Fallon got the first point next, performing Cardi B’s “Up” on a Theremin before Davidson tried to play Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” on upright bass.
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The duo teamed up on the last song, delivering a hilarious rendition of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me.” The ’70s track has had countless covers over the years including Propagandhi, Lindsay Lohan and Punchline. It has also appeared in films such as Bandslam with Aly & AJ’s Aly Michalka on guitar and vocals and most notably in 10 Things I Hate About You with Letters To Cleo performing it on the roof.
Fallon and Davidson’s cover was definitely a more unique take with the duo attempting to make a recognizable beat on a large guitar called a guitarrón and a harmonica-like melodica. The Roots guessed “I Love Rock 'n' Roll,” and while it was in the same general timeframe having been first recorded by the Arrows and later Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, the duo couldn’t get there with the correct answer.
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Following the “Random Instrument Challenge,” Fallon interviewed Davidson later on in the episode. In the chat, the comedian shares how he accidentally got SNL co-star Alec Baldwin on a strict workout routine that helped the actor lose 100 pounds. Elsewhere in the interview, Davidson discussed how happy he is that New York City is finally legalizing recreational marijuana.
Davidson also dives into talking about the recent “Rap Roundtable” skit on SNL. In it, the comedian and Timothee Chalamet appear as duo Xan Mob, citing “Fall Out Boys” as one of their influences and delivering an instantly viral interpretation of SoundCloud rap.
The Roots’ Questlove also joined the cast as himself and smacks Davidson at one point in the skit. However, Davidson reveals that the slap didn’t go as planned.
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“Oh dude, [Questlove is a] total pro,” he tells Fallon about working with the musician. “It’s also really cool when someone who knows the show and watches the show is involved with it. And it was just so fun to work with him, and he got to hit me, which was cool. I asked him if he would really hit me, and he said ‘no.’”
Questlove chimed in, adding, “He told me to hit him for real. He’s like, ‘I don’t feel it. Hit me for real.’”
Davidson claims he “thought it would be cool for the sketch” before Fallon tells him you can’t ask people to hit you on national television. “Yeah, but like, I don’t know, you can usually tell when it’s a fake hit. I wanted him to punch me in the face,” Davidson concludes.
Fallon continues the interview by discussing Davidson’s upcoming role as Blackguard in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad later this year. He joins fellow cast newcomers Idris Elba, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Rooker and John Cena. The crew appears alongside an already stacked slate of actors reprising their roles including Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller.
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“I love superhero movies, and I’m a huge James Gunn fan, and I got a call from James Gunn,” Davidson tells Fallon of landing the role. “He was like ‘There’s this role for you in the movie, and you play a guy named Richard Hertz. I was like, ‘Dick Hurts?’ I’m in. That’s his real name. My character’s name is Dick Hertz. And I was like, ‘Dude that’s the greatest. That’s so awesome.’ Yeah, he was nice enough to let me be in it, and it’s a thing I still can’t believe. It’s like ridiculous”
The Suicide Squad hits theaters Aug. 6 and will also be on HBO Max for one month from that date for subscribers. The first record-breaking red-band trailer and follow-up teaser—the latter of which first debuted in theaters ahead of Godzilla vs. Kong—are available to watch below.