A Connecticut comedy-club owner is disputing Pete Davidson's claim that the comic walked out of a sold-out show because the owner had "disrespected" him.
"Hey, guys in Connecticut, I'm sorry that we had to leave the show before I got to go on," the "Saturday Night Live" star, 25, said in an Instagram Story video Monday after abruptly canceling his show that night at The Stress Factory in Bridgeport. "The owner, Vinnie Brand, disrespected me and did something that I told him not to do. And I can't, y'know, perform under those circumstances." Davidson said he would do a free makeup show, promising, "We'll figure out where it's going to be in the next week."
The reason for the walkout, according to audience members posting on social media, is that Brand had mentioned Davidson's former girlfriends, pop star Ariana Grande and actress Kate Beckinsale, during an introduction.
One patron wrote on the club's Instagram page: "Vinnie came out and … said don't ask about Ariana or Kate or you'll be removed (like any other heckler). I guess he could've just said past relationships but it's not like we wouldn't have know [sic] who he's talking about. Vinnie didn't say anything in a disrespectful manner…."
"I had a conversation yesterday afternoon with his head of security," Brand, 56, told Newsday, "and he told me Pete has a strict rule about cellphones … and to put everyone on notice, which we did. He said, 'We don't want people yelling during the show, but Pete will handle that himself as a comic. But if they yell out about Ariana Grande or Kate Beckinsale, we're gonna throw them out immediately and we need them to know that.' I said, 'OK, I got it, I'm gonna handle it,' " said Brand, a longtime club owner with a flagship in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where Davidson often performed.
Brand instructed the crowd as told "and less than two minutes later," he recalled, Davidson's people "said, 'He's leaving. He's upset you mentioned them onstage.' " Outside the club, where the comic was preparing to be driven away, "Pete said, 'Oh, man, you totally humiliated me.' I said, 'I did just what the guy said to do. I would never embarrass you.' “
The security guard who had instructed him denied it, Brand said, and a second who had witnessed it "said, 'I don't wanna get involved.' "
After Davidson left, Brand told the crowd he'd refund them and himself began a replacement set. During it, "Someone said, 'Pete's trashing you online.' At that point, yeah, I got mad,” he said, and in a more than minute-long burst captured on a Facebook video told the crowd angrily what he said had transpired.
"People that were there last night have been overwhelmingly supportive," said Brand, who added no one from Davidson's team is returning his attempts at reaching out. "I don't think it makes Pete look the way he should look," Brand said. "He’s a good guy. I don't want people to be angry with Pete. Things happen. But I'm not gonna lay down and let him say something that's not true."
Davidson has no press representative and has not commented further publicly.