After years of relative seclusion, Dave Chappelle is hitting the road performing stand-up as part of Funny or Die’s Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival. This is huge: a comedy dynamo going back to his roots, honing his act. Well, if you’re the crowd at last night’s show in Hartford, Conn, you’d rather shout out “I’m Rick James, bitch” and “Granny, don’t!” Because you think it’s 2004. And you can’t find these clips on YouTube. And you’re an idiot who lacks the ability to enjoy anything new.
Here’s the scene: The Oddball tour, which also includes Demetri Martin and Kristen Schaal, made its scheduled stop. The crowd was excited to see Chappelle, yelling out catchphrases from Half Baked and Chappelle Show. And they would…not…stop.
Laughspin details what went down, including this account from an audience member:
“He just chatted with the crowd for the first couple minutes as he waited for people to take their seats and settle down, but they kept going with the screaming. He had some fun with it at first, but then he got serious and told people that if they wanted him to do his act, they should pipe down so he could start. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to have him lay it out there in plain English that he wouldn’t continue until there was a reasonable level of quiet, yet people, who presumably paid a bunch of money to come see him, wouldn’t shut the fuck up.”
Now, you might think: Maybe Chappelle had a bad show or was in a pissy mood. Some commenters on Laughspin, who claimed to have been at the show, say that indeed was the case. But writer Dylan P. Gadino, who received camera video footage and emails from fans, disagrees. And he make this point:
…Chappelle just last month broke attendance records in Montreal at the Just For Laughs comedy festival. He was scheduled to do one show there and organizers had to add nine more. The shows were packed and Chappelle, by most accounts, killed. My guess is those crowds in Montreal weren’t a bunch of drunk animals. I’m not saying every crowd member in Hartford are [sic] to blame for Chappelle’s non-performance, but clearly there were enough to ruin the night for everyone.
This is why we can’t have nice things, America. Come on, we can do better.