Would You Risk $1 Mill To Tweet About Pete Davidson’s Jokes?
Comedian Pete Davidson is making people who go to his set sign an NDA that could leave them a million out of pocket if they break it.
It feels like Pete Davidson has come out of nowhere. One day he’s just your above-average comedian, the next he’s engaged to one of the biggest superstars in the world, throwing BDE around like there’s no tomorrow. The engagement didn’t last, but the fascination with Pete did. He’s definitely stoked that fire too; wining and dining actresses and models, partaking in bizarre Ken Doll photoshoots, and just generally shit-stirring his way to becoming a household name.
Headlines have made him an icon of the ‘10s, but his credentials as a comedian stack up too. Davidson is one of the youngest cast members ever to appear on SNL (he landed the gig at just 20 years old), he’s a regular face on a bunch of other TV shows, and he performs his live set to audiences across the US – granted they’re up for signing a non-disclosure agreement, that is.
Yep, news broke this week that Pete’s lawyers have reportedly asked people who buy tickets to his shows to sign an NDA – barring them from speaking on any platform about his set after they see it. No tweets, no Insta posts, no opinion pieces – nada.
saw pete davidson tonight but don’t ask me about it because i signed an nda pic.twitter.com/R8QJrMTMpM
— brooke 🤠 (@brookehickss) December 1, 2019
Before we dive in, some NDA-related background for you: a non-disclosure agreement is probably one of the most powerful legal tools celebs have up their sleeves – they stop those who sign ‘em from disclosing information about certain people that they don’t want in the public domain, and can cover everything from sex to what toilet paper someone uses. NDAs are becoming more common in live entertainment too, as comedians scramble to keep their jokes from getting leaked before they have a chance to tell them.
Here’s how it all went down at Pete’s Nov 27 show in San Francisco, as originally reported by Consequence Of Sound: After guests nabbed a ticket to Pete’s show, they were emailed a copy of a strongly-worded NDA a few hours before the show. The email informed guests that if they wanted to attend Pete’s set, they would need to sign the agreement.
The agreement apparently stated that: “the individual shall not give any interviews, offer any opinions or critiques, or otherwise participate in by any means or in any form whatsoever (including but not limited to blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or any other social networking or other websites whether now existing or hereafter created).”
If you did choose to post stuff about the show anyway, you’re looking at a fine of $1 million USD. Part of the agreement reportedly includes a section where guests have to list their Insta handle and Twitter bio, so there’s a good chance lawyers would catch any social chatter that people did put out.
pete davidson shoulda got ariana grande to sign an nda...
— Kate Shaw (@acutetroll20) December 1, 2019
Pete Davidson going on a rant about how shitty and sensitive our generation is and then making people sign a 1 million dollar NDA if anyone critiques him is the funniest joke he’s ever told.
— 𝕲𝖔𝖉𝖑𝖊𝖘𝖘 𝖙𝖎𝖙𝖙𝖞 𝖌𝖔𝖇𝖑𝖎𝖓 (@BUSCEMIFANCLUB) December 2, 2019
Pete Davidson making people sign $1m NDA's isn't about ego, it's about doing what he can in order to protect his art. So don't blame him, blame the idiots who, over time have ruined it for the loyal and respectful fans.
— Greg Bach (@iamgregbach) November 29, 2019
Having my wages garnished for the rest of my life because I violated a $1M NDA by posting “Pete Davidson show was lit af” to my Instagram Stories
— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) December 2, 2019
For what it’s worth, lawyers doubt that the NDA would stack up in court. Our estimated guess would be that this whole thing is a scare tactic rather than something Pete’s lawyers will straight-up enforce: they’re probably hoping that threatening legal jargon will be enough to stop people from posting, which, in all likeliness, it will.
Is the NDA just about stopping leaks, though? Maybe not. Pete’s had several not-so-flattering outbursts during his shows: a heckler who referred to his ex’s ex, the late Mac Miller, got an earful from him which made international news, and he recently had a go at uni students using their phones during his set, which also made headlines. All this legal stuff could be a bid to avoid more negative press.
Pete told Paper Magazine recently how the fear of being ‘cancelled’ affects his standup and the industry more broadly. “It makes doing college [shows] really hard. I refuse to do a college after this year 'cause it's like, you're just setting yourself up for trouble... Comedy is just, like, getting destroyed … You can't talk about anything. You can't. The second you open your mouth and have an opinion, you lose money today. And I don't think that's a safe place to live in.”
Many comedians ask fans to hand their phones in at the door as a way of keeping their shows private. Their jokes are their intellectual property – if they spread around the internet before they have a chance to share them, or if they are shared without the relevant context, it affects their ability to make a buck. A full on NDA, though? That’s BDE gone wild.
Main Image Credit: Under License From Getty