SNL’s Pete Davidson makes fans sign a $1 million NDA before he’ll perform stand-up. The comedian has been part of the SNL roster since 2014, acquiring a large following in the process, despite what has at times been a controversial sense of humor.
In addition to his work on SNL, Davidson has landed roles in some high profile upcoming films, including comedy guru Judd Apatow’s, currently untitled project and James Gunn’s highly anticipated take on The Suicide Squad. It’s been a great run so far for the 26-year-old, though there have certainly been times over the past few years in which the young star’s life has been anything but glamorous. Davidson’s engagement to pop star Ariana Grande ended after only four months and despite Grande having released a song specifically entitled Pete Davidson, in which she praised the comedian for having been a part of her life, Davidson was considered a suicide risk for a brief period at the end of 2018. Those troubles appear to be behind him now and Davidson is currently in the process of a stand-up comedy tour.
According to Variety, however, Davidson’s stand-up tour is causing a fair bit of controversy, due to the comedian’s insistence on having audience members sign a Non Disclosure Agreement before being permitted to attend any of the shows. The NDA prevents audience members from saying anything more about the show than “no comment” and restricts ticket holders from posting any information to social media. The penalty for breaking the NDA’s demands is a whopping $1 million fine. The specifics of the NDA can be seen below:
“The individual shall not give any interviews, offer any opinions or critiques, or otherwise participate 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).”
Though Variety’s report on Davidson’s NDA demands doesn’t go into specifics as to why the SNL cast member is being so guarded, the answer is likely a simple one. In the age of social media, many comedians are often concerned over new material getting out before it’s ready. Stand-up tours are typically used as method for comedians to try out new material, gauge the response and adjust it accordingly or abandon it altogether as their tour goes along. When audience members post clips of a stand-up’s routine to social media, the material is often compromised, preventing a joke in its relatively early stages from reaching its full potential. Other comedians such as Louis CK, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock have enforced complete bans of mobile phones at their performances for precisely these reasons.
With all that having been said, Davidson seems to be taking his protection of his material to all new heights. A $1 million fine for leaking any of the performance is indeed a huge jump from simply banning phones at his shows. What’s more, the NDA prevents fans from even discussing the performance with friends or anyone who might ask how Davidson was live. Surely there has to be a middle ground for comedians who want to keep their material fresh, because as things currently stand, the idea of signing away the freedom to discuss a performance is a little absurd.