Pete Davidson Reveals the “Embarrassing” Joke He Told Aretha Franklin’s Family at Her Funeral

Pete Davidson opened up about his behavior at Aretha Franklin’s funeral in 2018—which he attended with then-fianceé Ariana Grande—while under the influence of ketamine.

By Olivia Evans Jan 11, 2024 9:20 PMTags
Watch: Pete Davidson Reveals He Was “So High” at Aretha Franklin’s Funeral

Pete Davidson is opening up about his past mistakes. 

The comedian revealed in his latest Netflix special, Pete Davidson: Turbo Fonzarelli that he was not only high on ketamine at the late music icon Aretha Franklin's funeral in August 2018, but also told her family an "embarrassing" joke while offering condolences. Pete, who was attending as a guest of then-fiancée Ariana Grande, riffed off one of the singer's biggest hits when speaking with her loved ones—which he insinuated was ill-timed. 

"I was so high," he admitted in the Jan. 9 special, "I thought it'd 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.'"

As for how they reacted, Pete didn't elaborate. However, in the special, the Saturday Night Live alum also opened up on his journey of giving up "hard drugs." Specifically, he recalled being on "magical" ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic, for "two to three years."

Pete Davidson's Stacked Dating History

"It's embarrassing when you're not on ketamine anymore, though—I'm embarrassed," The King of Staten Island star continued in his special. "I was out and about like that. That's not cool."

The 30-year-old expressed guilt for his behavior at the Queen of Soul's memorial—who he also assumed would've questioned why he was in attendance at all. (Ariana, with whom he split just a few months later, performed Aretha's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," during the service.)

"I have to live with that," Pete added. "She'll never know, but still, that's not the point. You know what I mean?"

Photo by: Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images)

This isn't the first time Pete has spoken out about his problems with drug use. Back in September, shortly following a visit to a rehab facility, Pete opened up about trying to get clean during a stand-up set in Atlantic City, New Jersey. 

Approaching his 30th birthday—which occurred in November—Pete said at the time, per People, that you "can't do drugs anymore in your thirties," adding that it is "not cute anymore."