Dave Chappelle hasn’t been involved with any TV or movie projects in a couple years, but he has been staying busy performing semi-secret stand-up shows across the country (which sell out almost instantly), and from the looks of it, tearing phone books in half. When I saw him perform a few months back, he seemed to be going onstage without much if any prepared material, with a plan to just improvise and riff for the better part of two hours (a plan which worked, mostly, and was impressive as hell). The downside of that style is that if you get side tracked, the set can go south in a hurry. Which is what sounds like happened at a recent charity event in Miami, where Dave reportedly “told one joke and then stood onstage and sighed for 45 minutes” when an audience member wouldn’t stop filming him. Not exactly helping the audience’s case was CNN reporter Roland Martin, who live-tweeted the event. Which Dave knew, because he’d taken to checking his cell phone during the set. Aw, just like my girlfriend does during sex. “Ugh, so bored rite now lol. #finishalready”
Here’s the twitter chronicle, as compiled by Vulture:
This Dave Chappelle set is bizarre. He’s spent more time going back & forth with one audience member, & pretty much stopped telling jokes
One woman just yelled, “Can you tell a joke so we can enjoy ourselves!” He got texted four times during his show and actually checked them
I’m jut not understanding what threw him off. He’s complained about folks videotaping his set, yelling out loud. I don’t get it
“This crowd is serious as hell,” he says. Dave, we’re trying to figure out what we’ve listened to for the last 25 minutes.
Chappelle says this is a “test of wills.” He keeps saying “tick tock” & he has “nothing but time.” He’s just staring at the crowd & sighing
“As sh*tty as the show is, I can’t wait to explain this on CNN.” Dave Chappelle complaining about a guy taping his whole show
Then Dave started talking to me, asking if I was putting this on CNN. Yes, from the stage! He’s been on stage 46 minutes & told one joke.
He kept saying “I respect your work.” And then he said, He’ll send me a tape of his better comedy work. This is a trip!
So yeah, probably not the most effective way to deal with an unruly audience member. In his defense, if a comedian is trying to put together material for an upcoming album or special, the last thing he or she needs is someone filming it and putting it up on YouTube and leaking the material before the jokes have even been polished. Which, as it turns out, is pretty much what happened (the YouTube part, anyway). Also, what kind of d*ck just keeps filming when the performer you came to see is clearly waiting for you to stop before he continues? And why isn’t there anyone around that guy to give him a swift sack tap? There’s a strange phenomenon of a Dave Chappelle show where his style seems to turn the audience into drooling idiots. At the show I saw, Dave was wondering aloud what was happening in the world that he could talk about, and a guy near me shouted “SESQUICENTENNIAL OF THE CIVIL WAR!”
I’m actually surprised he doesn’t have meltdowns more often.
[Banner pic via Twitter]