American comedian Hannibal Buress said on U.S. late-night television that he was nearly thrown out of a Toronto taxi last week for mentioning Uber while in the city for the NBA All-Star Game.
The Chicago native, who stars in the Comedy Central series Broad City, said on NBC Late Night with Seth Meyers on Wednesday that the argument started after the cabbie refused to turn on the meter.
Buress told Meyers he was in the cab with his cousin, just a few blocks away from the house where he was staying, when the driver said, "'It's a $20 flat-rate.' I'm like, 'No, put the meter on it.'"
"No, this is a van-cab, $20, flat rate," said the cabbie, according to Buress.
"No," Buress insisted.
So the cabbie relented. "He says, 'You know what? I've had a good week, I've had a good day. I'm not going to let you ruin it. I'm going to take you for free,'" Buress told Meyers.
The comedian said the exchange put him off, and he said: "That's why Uber is crushing you guys."
'The Uber thing really set him off'
Buress said the cabbie then nearly threw him out of the taxi.
"The Uber thing really set him off 'cause he tried to kick us out into the cold," Buress said.
Toronto taxi drivers have been in a battle against the city for not coming out more strongly against UberX, the ride-hailing app they allege is operating illegally and cutting into their business. UberX, Uber's lower-cost service, connects riders with drivers that are not licensed as taxis.
The cabbies called off plans to stage a strike that would have brought the city to a halt just before last weekend's all-star festivities.
"I feel like I could have said anything to him and it wouldn't have upset him unless I mentioned Uber," Buress quipped.
Asked why he refused the offer, Buress said, "I didn't want his free ride because he was doing it in a condescending way."