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Joe Pesci Comes Out of Retirement for Bupkis

Pete Davidson’s superstardom has taken him beyond the Saturday Night Live stage to comedy specials, movies, celebrity romances, and now his new show “Bupkis” currently on NBC’s streaming service Peacock. The show was released this month and is getting rave reviews and said to be, “the funniest show to come along in a while.” 

Written by Pete Davidson, the show dramatizes and exaggerates the life of Pete Davidson as he works through family dynamics, navigating fame and forming any sort of meaningful relationship. The comedy is a semi-autobiographical series with a star-studded cast featuring Edie Falco, Brad Garrett, Bobby Cannavale, Steve Buscemi, Ray Romano, Al Gore, Jon Stewart, Charlamagne Tha God, and Charlie Day. 

One of the actors Davidson has formed the closest bond with is Academy Award winner Joe Pesci. Getting him to agree to do this project was no small feat.

“It wasn’t a quick thing — it definitely took a couple of meetings; we sat down with him a couple of times and discussed our vision for this and went through the script with him on a couple of different occasions,” said Showrunner Judah Miller. “It was incredible how Pete and Joe just naturally connected and formed a real, almost grandfatherly dynamic in Joe’s mentoring of Pete,” he said. “I think they have a lot in common [and] Joe was interested in advising Pete, even beyond what you see in the show.”

“[Pesci] has a unique point of view on the world and on the business that only he can provide.”

With his extensive acting career behind him, it’s no surprise Pesci offers a unique perspective and style with the cast and crew. Pesci even goes off script, singing while playing the piano, that you may see in one of the show’s promos. When asked about Pesci’s off script moment Miller stated, “That was something that just happened. That was something that we all know that Joe is a singer. We knew that Joe played piano, and it's something that we were predicting might happen, but to have him sit down and sing specifically that song was like, it was truly a magic moment that happened in real life.”a

According to Davidson, Pesci helped save both his life and the life of Bupkis simply by believing in the project. On the Real Ones podcast, Davidson said he had felt very “insecure” about the show and Pesci’s approval to join came at a time when Davidson needed reassurance.

"We had a really great conversation. It was really honest and organic and we kind of hit it off,” Davidson said. “And it was out of love he did it, 'cause he doesn't need to do anything."

"I needed that validation from someone like that, like so badly," Davidson continued. "Because, like I said, when you're going online, I can deal with trolls, but Oscar winners, presidents shitting on you? You're like, 'Damn, I'm a loser.' I got the guy no one can get. And that changed my life. I owe him everything."

AJ Forrisi

Assistant Editor for America Domani, AJ Forrisi is a Brooklyn-based writer and photographer. His work focuses on food, travel, sports, landscapes, and urban scenes. You can find him on Instagram @aj.photo.works