Pete Holmes isn’t afraid to call people in the audience out for talking during his comedy shows — and he says he recently told one woman to “shut the f— up” without realizing that woman was Malia Obama.
The 40-year-old comedian shared on Conan this week that during a show in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he told off two women in the front row who whispered during his set — but it wasn’t until after the show was over that he realized it was the former first daughter and one of her friends.
“Sometimes I do shows and I don’t know that there’s someone of note in the audience,” Holmes told host Conan O’Brien.
“There were these two hot women, young women, in the front that the whole show were whispering,” Holmes recalled of the show at the Comedy Studio, explaining that in his opinion, whispering is “worse than heckling.”
“They were going like this” — Holmes then imitated whispering in O’Brien’s ear with his hand over his mouth — “at every comedian.”
“What a Black Mirror nightmare to be doing stand-up and there’s two attractive girls — which is what made every nerd into a comedian — in the front row, whispering and laughing at the people on stage, but in the bad way,” he said, adding that he was the last performer to take the stage.
“I tell a joke, and they’re whispering and laughing and giggling,” Holmes recounted. “And I’m just like, ‘What’s going on? I can see you.’ They were in the front row, they were in the light. Like the spotlight was on them as well, and I just go, ‘what’s going on? I can see you, please stop.'”
Holmes continued with his set, trying to turn the audience members’ whispers into a funny gag, but it didn’t work, and he eventually went so far as to tell the women to “shut the f— up.”
“Tell another joke. They keep doing it. Then I’m like, ‘Can you please cut it out? Please cut it out.’ Then, I get a little more like, ‘Shut up. Look at my face, I’m here to help.’ But, you know, you push Petey too far and I’m like, ‘Please, shut the f— up.'”
The Crashing star even went so far as to “cover them with the curtain.”
“I thought this would get a big laugh. Nothing,” Holmes continued. “The whole audience turns on me, I’m like, ‘What is going on?'”
“After the show, I find out it was Obama’s daughter,” he then revealed, covering his face in his hands as O’Brien, 56, exclaimed his shock. “It was Malia! And her hot friend! She looked great. Terrible comedy audience. That’s a true story.”
Holmes then jokingly wondered why the Secret Service let him speak that way to Malia, who attends Harvard University in Cambridge.
“I’ve never gotten offstage and been like, why wasn’t I shot? Or at least a little laser beam like you’re trying to entertain a cat on my face,” he said, again reveling at how rude he was to the former president’s eldest daughter and then joking, “I covered them, I was like shut up! Shut up! Shut up! You should vanish! And I covered them with the thing, and the Secret Service was like, ‘I like this guy.'”
“I was proud that I did not cry in front of her,” the 44th commander-in-chief said at the Beau Biden Foundation‘s golf and tennis invitational at Delaware’s Wilmington Country Club in 2017. “But on the way back, the Secret Service was off, looking straight ahead, pretending they weren’t hearing me as I sniffled and blew my nose. It was rough.”