Though the show did not dedicate a sketch to the subject, the show hinted at the split during the opening monologue. As Jonah Hill got inducted into the "five time host" club, special guest Candice Bergen asked for another drink called the Pete Davidson.
"What's a Pete Davidson?" Hill asks.
"Well, all I know is it's got a lot going on, but it gets the job done," Bergen says.
Later, Davidson made an appearance on Weekend Update to discuss the importance of the 2018 Midterm Elections, when he brought up his recent change in living situations.
"The Midterm elections are obviously a huge deal, and after I had to move back in with my mom I started to pay attention to them," Davidson joked, referencing his breakup. After making a few jokes about some of the candidates, Davidson took a second to tell people to leave him and Ariana alone.
"Last thing I want to say is, I know some of you are curious about the breakup, but the truth is, it's nobody's business and sometimes things don't work out and that's OK.," he said. "She's a wonderful, strong person, and I genuinely wish her all the happiness in the world."
"Now please, go vote on Tuesday," he concluded as he got a little emotional.
Ahead of the episode, reports surfaced that the series had plans to do a sketch Davidson had written to poke fun at the split, but plans were scrapped after the singer expressed her discomfort with his jokes on the breakup.
"His friends think he is embarrassed by the break-up and that he has to overcompensate by making jokes about their relationship, because, days before they split, he was saying they would never break up," an insider told Entertainment Tonight Saturday.
The NBC series previously referenced the breakup in a promo for the episode, featuring Davidson, host Jonah Hill and musical guest Maggie Rogers. The promo was met with backlash from Grande herself, who tweeted out criticism toward her ex after the promo was released.
"For somebody who claims to hate relevancy u sure love clinging to it huh," she wrote. "Thank u, next."
Grande also had a big night Saturday, releasing the first single off her upcoming new album. The song, titled "thank u, next", came out on streaming services half an hour before the new episode of Saturday Night Live.
"... Even almost got married, and for Pete I'm so thankful," Grande sings in the new track, which also references other former lovers, including late rapper Mac Miller.1comments
The NBC series reference Grande and Davidson's romance frequently, starting with a sketch in the season 44 premiere poking fun at how famous Davidson had gotten since starting to date his then-fiancee. The couple ended their relationship in mid-October, just days as the series took a two-week break until November.
Saturday Night Live airs weekly at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.