Joe Pesci To Make His Return To Acting in New Role

by Suzanne Halliburton

Joe Pesci is returning to the small screen. And he’s playing the granddad of a very funny guy in a show called Bupkis.

Peacock, NBC’s streaming network, unveiled more details about the comedy that’s based on the life of comedian Pete Davidson, the ex-cast member of Saturday Night Live. Pesci will play Davidson’s grandfather, while Edie Falco (Sopranos) will co-star as the comedian’s mother.

Davidson left SNL in May after eight seasons on the show. His blue-collar roots are a big part of Davidson’s appeal. He grew up on Staten Island outside NYC. Two months before his eighth birthday, Pete’s dad went to work and never came home. He was a firefighter. And he was last seen going up the stairs of the World Trade Center on the morning of 9-11. His mother, Amy, raised him. The two even shared the same home up until 2021, when he moved to another house in Staten Island. It all makes for great, relatable comedy.

Getting both Joe Pesci and multiple Emmy-winner Edie Falco is a huge accomplishment for a fledgling comedy on a streaming service. Pesci is 79 and has been selective with his acting jobs. He’s known for his role in movies about the mob. His Academy Award win came for the 1990 movie Goodfellas. And he often collaborated with Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese in movies like Goodfellas, Raging Bull and the Casino. In fact, Pesci came out of retirement for The Irishman, which was released in 2019. He received his third career Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for playing Russell Bufalino.

Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro starred in several movies together. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Joe Pesci Is a Funny Dude. Remember My Cousin Vinny?

But Joe Pesci can do comedy. Remember My Cousin Vinny? Pesci was that cousin, Vinny Gambini, who happened to be a personal injury lawyer in Brooklyn. Vinny’s cousin, Bill Gambini, confessed to shoplifting from a store in Alabama. Then suddenly, Bill’s charges were upgraded to murder. Marisa Tomei, who portrayed Vinny’s much-younger girlfriend Mona Lisa Vito, won an Academy Award for the movie. Pesci received an honor from the American Comedy Awards for funniest leading actor in a movie. So like we said, Pesci has the acting chops to stand alongside Davidson. Seeing the two of them together probably will be a humorous sight since Davidson is about a foot taller than the actor who will portray his granddad.

Pete Davidson created Bupkus. It’s a show based on his life. Joe Pesci plays his Poppy. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

And Joe Pesci will play a real person. Pete’s grandfather is Stephen Davidson. And Pete calls him Poppy. We know that Poppy is a huge movie buff who owns more than 5,000 VHS tapes. He and his grandson even made home movies together when Pete was a kid. And the two look a lot alike. Stephen even had a part in Davidson’s movie “The King of Staten Island.” The two also did a Christmas commercial for Amazon’s Echo.

Joe Pesci will get to play a very funny guy. Here’s a vignette featuring the real-life Poppy. Enjoy.