Pete Davidson reveals ‘embarrassing’ joke he told at Aretha Franklin’s funeral while high on ketamine

Pete Davidson cancels his shows due to “unforeseen circumstances”
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Pete Davidson revealed what “embarrassing” joke he cracked at the Aretha Franklin funeral in the debut of his latest Netflix comedy special, “Turbo Fonzarelli,” unveiled this Tuesday, January 9. In the initial moments of the one-hour stand-up performance, Davidson humorously delved into his history of substance use.

“I was on a magical drug for the last two-and-a-half, three years called ketamine,” he said. “It was amazing. What a time.” Later, Davidson candidly revealed that he was high while attending Aretha Franklin’s funeral with Ariana Grande in 2018. “It’s embarrassing when you’re not on ketamine anymore,” he admitted.

“I’m embarrassed. I was out and about like that. That’s not cool, you know? I was at funerals like that. That’s fucked up, right? I was at Aretha Franklin’s funeral like that.” Davidson continued, “I have to live with that. You know what I mean? She’ll never know, but still, that’s not the point.”

Pete Davidson admits that he was high at Aretha Franklin’s funeral

While Davidson was certain that Franklin would “never know” he was on the drug, he humorously speculated that she might have at least questioned him: “‘Hey, who are you? And what the f–k are you doing at my funeral?’”

Franklin’s memorial service was attended by numerous music icons and close associates of the legendary singer, including Davidson, then a prominent cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” Presumably present as Ariana Grande’s guest, Davidson reflects on the awkwardness of his heightened state, admitting, “It’s embarrassing. I’m so high, I thought it would be a good idea to go up to her family and go, ‘Hey, I’m just here to pay my R-E-S-P-E-C-T-S.’”

Franklin passed away at the age of 76 due to advanced pancreatic cancer. At that time, Davidson was engaged to Grande, who had been invited to perform at the service.

Davidson has been doing drugs for four years

This isn’t the first time the ‘King of Staten Island’ actor has been open about using ketamine. While sharing the stage with John Mulaney and Jon Stewart in their “Jon, John & Pete” tour in September 2023, Davidson disclosed that he had been using the drug for four years.

Davidson has consistently discussed mental health and addiction in his career. However, as pointed out by The AV Club’s Matt Schimkowitz, it’s challenging to determine the exact extent of truth in his comedy routine, as some elements may be exaggerated for comedic effect. In the later part of the special, Davidson also acknowledges amplifying certain jokes for the sake of “hilarity.”