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Romano — Man on the stage: Still supports Trump, still loves Amy Schumer

David Pettinato was called to the stage by Amy Schumer.
David Pettinato was called to the stage by Amy Schumer.
Published Oct. 19, 2016

From a distance, it looked like the man had second thoughts about outing himself as a Donald Trump supporter at Sunday's Amy Schumer show.

Sitting in Row 2 directly in front of the comedian's microphone, David Pettinato's arm kept going up and down as Schumer scoured the crowd for Trump fans.

But it wasn't a lack of faith or conviction that made Pettinato seem so indecisive.

It was his wife Dara, tugging his arm back down every time he tried to raise it up.

Schumer had already dismissed one potential volunteer because he was wearing a T-shirt. The unstated inference was she wanted someone of at least reasonable intelligence.

Pettinato, a Tampa attorney who had bought tickets to the show as a present for his wife, was among one of the last volunteers still willing to go through with the potential abuse even as his wife shouted no. Schumer pointed him out, and he headed to the stage.

"I started thinking, 'Oh my God, will I be able to make a coherent point?' '' Pettinato recalled.

• • •

His time in the spotlight was awkward and brief, but certainly notable. The New York Times, Vanity Fair, TMZ, the Washington Post, Billboard, Time, and Britain's Daily Mail have all carried either stories or the grainy cellphone video of Pettinato's 90-second comedy debut.

Predictably enough, the incident has been hailed as a victory by both Trump and Hillary Clinton acolytes on social media. The Clinton people gleefully quote Schumer ridiculing the GOP candidate. Trump fans point out that 200 people in a crowd of more than 8,000 walked out when Schumer got political.

As for the man on the stage?

"I've got no hard feelings,'' Pettinato said. "She did what she needed to do for her comedy and for her beliefs. I'm not hurt, I'm not upset. She's very funny. She's cute. I know a lot of her comedy is self-deprecating, but I think she's a beautiful person.''

If you haven't seen the video, Schumer wanted a Trump voter to explain why they were supporting a candidate she clearly despises. For her purposes, Pettinato, 56, turned out to be the wrong choice.

Instead of praising Trump, he said his stance had more to do with opposing Clinton. Schumer tried to draw out more details on Trump, but abruptly dismissed Pettinato when he returned to Clinton.

"I appreciate that,'' Schumer said as Pettinato left the stage. "That was just cool to hear why one guy, who doesn't seem like a psychopath, might want to vote for that orange, sexual-assaulting, fake college-starting monster.''

Pettinato, who is a lifelong Republican but says he has voted Democrat in the last seven presidential elections, said it was clear Schumer was hoping for a rabid Trump fan she could poke fun at. His distaste for Clinton, he said, is based on her scrubbing of emails after a congressional subpoena.

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"As an attorney, if I did that, I would be in jail today,'' he said.

Pettinato has since gotten calls from Trump supporters at his office, and his wife has gotten blowback from Clinton fans on Facebook. It's been a little more heated than he would prefer, but it's nothing he hasn't experienced before.

"I've got a 15-year-old daughter who yells at me when I'm listening to news radio in the car,'' he said. "She says, 'How can you even think about voting for Trump?' ''

As for Schumer, he says she's now his celebrity crush.

Much like Schumer talks about actor Bradley Cooper being her fake boyfriend after a chance encounter with him, Pettinato said Schumer is his new dream date.

"I have no regrets, it was an enjoyable experience,'' he said. "Amy is my Bradley Cooper.''


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