“Somebody reached out. It was [artificial intelligence]. They reached out to his manager, said they worked at Brad Garrett‘s Comedy [Club] and wanted to book [a show],” Melissa, 44, exclusively told Us Weekly at BravoCon on Saturday, November 4. “[They] sent Joe a fake contract, told Joe, ‘Here’s the link to sell tickets,’ and he promoted it for one day.”
Joe soon learned, however, that no such show would be taking place.
“I guess it got back to Brad Garrett, and he was like, ‘We don’t have this show.’ And we were like, ‘Holy s–t,’” Melissa explained. “And we had to take it down, and it was all a fake scammer — scamming Joe and scamming everyone else.”
Melissa confessed that Joe, 49, was really disappointed that the show didn’t happen. “He must have been so upset,” she told Us. “He was like, ‘I knew that was too good to be true.’ I felt bad for him. But it’s fine. It happens.”
The drama began last month when Brad, 63, shared a screenshot via Instagram of Joe’s alleged comedy show and warned followers that it would not be taking place at his Las Vegas venue.
“ALERT!! This is NOT AN ACTUAL Show at my club and people are being scammed to buy tickets via a fake link on Facebook,” the Everybody Loves Raymond alum wrote on October 31, adding that an “impostor” was “collecting ticket funds for a non-existent” performance. “So @catchnewjersey not sure how you put this show together but it wasn’t from us. I am not on Facebook.”
According to the ad, Joe was set to appear alongside comedian Jaclyn Marfuggi and fellow RHONJ star Frank Catania, who was labeled as a “special guest.”
Joe later claimed he had no idea the show had been booked by a fake promoter until he saw Brad’s Instagram post. “It was coming from a fake Brad Garrett,” a rep for the Bravolebrity told Deadline in a statement. “Joe’s attorney was scammed. They even had signed contracts in place.”
Joe’s rep added that the reality star is “very disappointed as he was looking forward to performing” and assured fans that everyone who purchased tickets for the fake show will receive a refund.
Brad, meanwhile, confirmed in a second Instagram post that Joe didn’t know he’d been scammed. “It was not their fault,” the comedian wrote. “It was booked through a comedy club in NJ who didn’t go through the proper channels and talked to some jerk-off impostor on Facebook. Note to all: when someone asks for $ upfront to work at your club it’s most likely a scam. Stay safe everyone.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi