Referencing Grande’s blackfishing controversy and the “unfair” double standard in the response to her post-breakup comments, he said that his “career would be over tomorrow” if he acted in a similar manner after their high profile split.
Davidson addressed the Vogue cover in his Netflix special Pete Davidson: Alive From New York, which recently dropped on the streaming platform.
After crediting Grande for making him a household name, he said that he initially “wasn’t gonna do jokes about” their relationship but decided it was “fair game” after his friend told him about Grande calling him a “distraction.”
He said to his audience, “You’re like, ‘Pete, [talking about her here] isn’t fair.’ Like, ‘You’re airing out dirty laundry. How could you do that? Where did she say that stuff? To her friends in the confidence of her own home?’”
“No,” he continued. “She said it on the cover of Vogue magazine. Can you imagine if I did that? Can you imagine if I did that?”
“My career would be over tomorrow if I spray painted myself brown and hopped on the cover of Vogue magazine and just started sh*****g on my ex. Can you imagine?” he asked.
Grande was criticised widely for her cover shoot, which saw the star pose in a beachside photoshoot by Annie Leibovitz.
Grande has in the past been criticised for ‘blackfishing’ - tanning to the extent that Grande, a white Italian American woman, looks more racially ambiguous.
Some felt that the 7 Rings singer took her tan on the cover too far, with one New Zealand Herald opinion piece saying that she had “long since crossed the line” and an Instagram user asking, “Why is this white woman performing as a tan/black girl?”
Grande also spoke about her relationship with Davidson in the accompanying interview.
The pair began publicly dating in May 2018 and were engaged by June, before breaking up in October.
Grande said of the whirlwind romance, “And then I met Pete, and it was an amazing distraction. It was frivolous and fun and insane and highly unrealistic, and I loved him, and I didn’t know him. I’m like an infant when it comes to real life and this old soul, been-around-the-block-a-million-times artist. I still don’t trust myself with the life stuff."
Davidson continued, “Yeah, could you imagine if I did that shit? Like, ‘I was just f***ing her because I was bored and then Fortnite came out. It would be insane.’”
Throughout the special, Davidson shut down applause for any of his Grande jokes saying, "Don't applaud. This isn't like a Drake VS Lil Wayne concert. Like, this isn't like a competition or whatever."
"I don't like that. I like the giggles," he said, "It's just jokes."
Calling her a “genius” and “a very powerful woman”, he also talked about how she had “ruined Starbucks” for him as he had an awkward encounter with a barista after their breakup which prompted him to leave.
He also talked about how he felt after she released her breakup anthem ‘thank u next’, which featured a music video peppered with references to him - as well as claims about the size of his penis.
Davidson said their breakup was “like any other breakup, except everybody sees it.” He described how he had his “boys over” and that they all lied to him, saying “nobody even knows who she is” - but things changed after Grande dropped the surprise track.
“And then that song came out and my friends were like, ‘Bro, I love you. I love you right. S**t is catchy. S**t is very catchy. You’re going to have a rough eight months. I’m sorry. I actually happen to like the song.’” he said. He also added that even his grandfather thought it was “a slap.”
Over the course of his and Grande’s relationship, the Grammy-award winning singer made generous references to the size of Davidson’s penis - something that the comedian said was “genius” on her part.
Saying he thought it was “super weird” that she mentioned it in ‘thank u next’, he said, “I thought that was really weird because everybody was like, ‘Aw, what a nice - what a nice, uh, girl.’ First of all, let’s take a step back. Could you imagine if I said that s**t?...It’s ridiculous.”
He continued that her claims were also “simply not true”, which he described as a “lifetime L.”
He said, “She’s a very smart person, okay? She did that so that every girl that sees my d**k for the rest of my life is disappointed. It’s genius. It’s a lifetime L.”
Davidson has been on the receiving end of the ire of Grande's active and very young fanbase in the past.
He said, "My biggest fear is that i’m going to get shot in the back of the head by a 9 year old with a ponytail. And the last thing I’m going to hear is ‘hashtag cancelled’."
Davidson’s new comedy special is currently available to stream on Netflix, following controversial reception to a joke released ahead of its release.
In a trailer for the special, Davidson was seen making a joke about gay friends and how he believed one of them wasn’t “f**king gay at all” because they were handsy with his girlfriend.
After it was released, Davidson and Netflix’s Twitter account which had tweeted out the video received a wave of backlash with one user tweeting, “I thought these jokes were really funny when I first heard Eddie Murphy do them in 1983.”
Pete Davidson: Alive From New York can be watched now on Netflix.