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According to multiple posts on social media, comedian and SNL cast member Pete Davidson asked attendees of his recent standup shows to sign a nondisclosure agreement, to ensure no one discussed the content online. If broken, it could reportedly cost a fan $1 million plus other legal fees.
A fan named Stacy Young posted an alleged copy of the NDA to Facebook last week, before Davidson’s Nov. 27 show at San Francisco’s Sydney Goldstein Theater. It requires that fans “not discuss any details of the show you are about to watch or your experiences at this event, period.” It also states that attendees are there “for the purpose of viewing ‘works-in-progress’ creative content.” If attendees declined to sign, they would allegedly get a refund.
boutta sign an NDA to see Pete Davidson do stand up— Katie Christensen (@kt_christensenn) November 26, 2019
why do i have to sign an NDA to see a pete davidson show is this normal do i need a lawyer— brooke ⎊ (@TlMEHEISTS) November 26, 2019
And while the NDA news is making the rounds now, attendees have posted about having to sign one since September.
I'm about to sign an NDA to see Pete Davidson perform. So this is the only time I'll mention it lol.— phreakatron (@phreakatron) September 28, 2019
While signing an NDA for a standup show is unprecedented, it’s not entirely surprising: Dave Chappelle has required attendees lock up their phones in Yondr pouches since 2015, and it’s become pretty common practice for bigger comedians over the last four years, as they attempt to thwart the recording of shows and out-of-context reporting on material. Before tour dates earlier this year, Louis C.K. sent out a copyright notice prohibiting the reproduction of his material.
Louis CK is performing in Minneapolis soon, and the comedy club sent out a notice because he doesn't post tour dates anymore. In addition to adding YONDR pouches to his gigs, he also requires them to share this copyright notice that I have never before seen a comedian share/post pic.twitter.com/ya8mqwXPE0— James Shotwell (@jamesdshotwell) May 4, 2019
Over the summer, Davidson stopped his set at the University of Central Florida to scold audience members for recording it, and allegedly called students “fucking retarded.” So he has reason to be proactive here. Of course, this could just be a scare tactic and not something that will actually be enforced or hold up in court. (And it hasn’t stopped people from making jokes about Davidson or the NDA.)
The Hollywood Reporter asked several legal experts about the legality of the NDA, which reportedly wasn’t presented to fans far enough in advance for them to negotiate terms. The consensus seemed to be that while it’s a little too broadly worded to be enforceable, it could be “an effective deterrent.” Entertainment litigator Bryan Freedman told THR that dropping the NDA on fans right before the show could prove more actionable: “The customers may end up having a better claim against him and the venue than he would ever have had against them.”
Davidson has not commented on the NDA. He performs two Florida shows with John Mulaney this weekend; the listing for the Orlando show only states that phones won’t be allowed.
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Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.