There’s two things comics don’t like about stand-up in 2019: smartphones and social media. Time was a comedian could fine-tune their sets by experimenting — testing what works on crowds, then preserving the perfected product on specials and albums. Now any yokel can tweet out their jokes or even record and disseminate entire sets. It must be infuriating, and as per Consequence of Sound, busy SNL staffer and team player in the Suicide Squad sequel, Pete Davidson is taking extreme measures: He’s requiring audiences to his shows to sign a $1 million non-disclosure agreement before they take their seats.
Though news of Davidson’s NDA only broke last week, he’s reportedly been doing this for about a month. Starting with a November 7 gig in Minneapolis, fans were e-mailed forms before the shows. In the case of a November 27 show in San Francisco, at least, those arrived a mere few hours before they started. The documents demand that audience members “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 in the disclosure of any Confidential information…”
Sadly, it appears Davidson’s law team did not hire a copy editor. One section states: “Any patron who is unable or unwilling to sign the agreement will not be allowed to enter and will be giving [sic] a full refund. Save time at the venue tonight by printing, signing, and brining [sic] this agreement with you!”
So, if you suspect you can resist the siren song that is tweeting or Facebooking out portions of a famous person’s stand-up set — or if you have a cool million lying around, waiting to be surrendered to Pete Davidson — have at it.
When I interviewed Marc Maron a couple of weeks ago he made a really interesting observation about the challenges of working against type when an audience has a really intimate understanding of who you are. He said he isn’t “afforded any mystery” following years of openness on stage and the WTF podcast. It’s something he’s working to push past as an actor and, in a way, it feels like the same kind of thing that could challenge Pete Davidson as he looks to grow his profile outside of SNL, stand-up, and tabloid coverage of his dating life. Because we know Pete, or, to be more on point, we think we do thanks to his willingness to mine his life for jokes and be open about his issues. But in the buzzed-about festival fave Big Time Adolescence which was released a week early and is now available to stream on Hulu, Davidson and writer/director Jason Orley find a way to use that assumed familiarity to their advantage, pulling us in closer to the story with Davidson’s naturalistic and egoless performance.
As Zeke, Davidson is pretty much who we’d imagine he’d be if not for his SNL success or Ariana Grande breakup assisted notoriety. Zeke is a personable, tatted slacker in his mid-20s who likes to get fucked up and play video games with his friends in between shifts as a clerk at a Best Buy stand-in. To 16-year-old Mo, played with appropriate angst and awkwardness by American Vandal’s Griffin Gluck, Zeke is a hero, a friend, and a surrogate big brother. Introduced to him as a kid, Zeke is Mo’s sister’s ex-boyfriend. This sparks an awkward acceptance of Mo and Zeke’s friendship despite mounting concern and jealousy by the boy’s father, played by Jon Cryer, who is great as someone trying to deal with losing his son to adulthood and Zeke’s influence while mostly existing in the margins of this story.
Zeke isn’t necessarily trying to steal Mo from his family, but he does like having the kid around as a tag-along who keeps the flame of his high school glories alive. Something that helps to keep him from getting too far down the rabbit hole of self-realization. Despite his sometimes selfish needs, however, there’s legit affection between the two and tremendous chemistry between Davidson and Gluck. But these kinds of fraternal love stories never suffer from believability. Like, it’s pretty easy to understand why Mo would want to be a part of the lazy rule-free chaos of Zeke’s life as opposed to hanging with his dad, playing baseball, or dealing with high school invisibility.
To a much less substantial degree, I had my own Zeke/Mo friendship when I was a 19-year-old clerk, bullshitting with him at work, downloading his encyclopedic music knowledge, and getting hotboxed in a beat-up Nissan on our lunch breaks. I tried hard to sort of stand on my tiptoes to act like his equal but the power dynamic definitely tilted more toward hero-worship. And then it just sort of faded. I got a girlfriend and a...
The Witcher‘s aptly-titled “Toss A Coin To Your Witcher” song may very well have grown into a monster of our own making, but I’m still convinced that it wasn’t simply the song itself that made the tune stick. Rather, it was Geralt of Rivia’s grunt of reluctant yet internally overjoyed acceptance that gave the song its emotional resonance. Geralt couldn’t quite believe that any member of humanity was singing his praises, let alone embellishing them in an attempt to win over the hearts of the public.
That’s only one of countless times that Geralt grunts in the Netflix series. He’s also fond of a well-placed f-bomb, which is terribly amusing when it happens, but the grunts may have drawn slightly more focus regarding the lone monster hunter’s temperament. Well, Cavill recently revealed something surprising about those noises to to BBC Radio 1 via Comic Book. Those were unscripted grunts:
“Actually, I think, none of the grunts were in there. All the grunts, I either added or didn’t say anything and just grunted instead. And it was often up to the other actors to go, ‘I think he’s not going to say anything now.’ And so, I think the grunts were often a surprise for anyone who was watching.”
Well, I feel like the f-bombs must have been part of the script, right? Maybe that should remain a mystery. In addition, it’s also worth revisiting showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich’s thoughts on why Geralt doesn’t say much in the show, as opposed to the books. Granted, her initial script did feature a lot of talking from Geralt, but through a collaborative process between showrunner and actor, a lot of those words evaporated before the final product surfaced. “People always think of Geralt as stoic, but in the books he talks nonstop,” she explained. “Henry brings such a depth and layered performance to Geralt that we don’t need him to tell us everything he’s feeling.”
There’s no word on when a second The Witcher season will arrive, but it shall. And it should be even more of a silent banger from Geralt.