Barbie was the pop culture sensation that absolutely swept the nation this past summer. The Greta Gerwig-directed comedy not only managed to generate massive money at the box office, but it’s since become something of a pop cultural touchstone. So it should be no surprise that upon Saturday Night Live’s return this weekend, the sketch comedy series found a way to lampoon one of the film’s biggest sequences. This week’s host, Pete Davidson, parodied the widely popular song “I’m Just Ken,” with a track of his own that’s since gone viral. And to be completely honest with you, the tune is just too perfect.
In the movie, “I’m Just Ken” was performed by Ryan Gosling’s titular doll as he pondered his existence and prepared for a beach battle with his counterparts in Barbieland. Pete Davidson’s “I’m Just Pete” is also an introspective ditty, yet it’s arguably funnier and a bit raunchier. The music video for it starts with a gleeful Davidson preparing to start his week at SNL, but he’s quickly disappointed when he hears cast members Punkie Johnson and Andrew Dismukes questioning his talents. From there, the clip cuts to the comic in a dollhouse similar to the one from the film and, from there, he ponders his place within the entertainment industry and society as a whole. Check it out:
So if you’ve been following the King of Staten Island lead’s exploits over the past few years, then you’ll probably find this video to be somewhat brilliant, as I did. Not only does the song brilliantly mirror its Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt-written counterpart, it also seamlessly tackles many of the major moments the 29-year-old star has experienced while in the spotlight. There’s so much A+ material that’s tackled here, from the comic’s surprising decision to buy a Staten Island Ferry with Colin Jost to his widely discussed BDE. There’s even a quick swipe at Kanye West, who declared “civil war” on the actor in 2022 amid the latter’s romance with Kim Kardashian.
But while Pete Davidson’s relationship history, new show Bupkis and other topics make for comedic fodder, he also references some situations that are a bit more serious. For example, Davidson acknowledged his tendency to check into rehab every now and then. And the video ended with a reference to his car accident from early this year, which saw him drive his vehicle into someone’s house. The Suicide Squad alum has no problem discussing his personal life, and this song lends further credibility to that notion.
The tune may be a testament to the comedic abilities of the star as well as the SNL team, but it also speaks to the far-reaching impact of Barbie. There are a number of moments from the acclaimed film that have become fan favorites, but the “I’m Just Ken” sequence is arguably among the most popular. Interestingly enough, the dance sequence almost didn’t come to be. Yet thanks to the efforts of Greta Gerwig and her team, it’s now cinemated as a memorable moment within the history of cinema.
Pete Davidson and the crew at SNL deserve a lot of credit for crafting such a clever video that’s also impressive from production design and choreography standpoints. It’s early, but I’d wager that this will go down as a highlight of Season 49. I can’t think of a better way to kick off this run of new episodes than by injecting a bit of “Ken-ergy” into the proceedings.
Saturday Night Live airs news episodes on the titular day at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC as part of the 2023 TV schedule, and you can also stream installments using a Peacock subscription.