Watch this video of Dave Chappelle at 1 a.m. in Detroit, and judge whether his words are slurred or if the exhaustion of touring has gotten to him. Chappelle has been on a comeback tour of 50 dates, sometimes performing twice a night. Regardless, the fans expect something phenomenal from one of the nation’s most powerful and enigmatic comedians.
The New York Daily News gave this clever lead-in to express some audience dissatisfaction with his Saturday night show:
Dave Chappelle fans thought the comedian’s dazed and confused Thursday performance in Detroit was half baked at best.
The usually sharp-witted Chappelle chain-smoked, slurred his speech and shouted at hecklers as he rambled his way through the 9:30 p.m. show at the Fillmore Detroit, according to attendees. (via)
Well played, Daily News.
Or, how about TMZ calling the performance a “drunken catastrophe.” That description might be a bit harsh, but it falls in line with the more vocal complainers on Facebook and elsewhere.
Going to a Dave Chappelle performance, post-Comedy Central defection, is a dice roll. While some report that his jokes are as biting as ever, others are quick to note the material is more resigned, and Chappelle’s been apt to shut down a set entirely when hecklers rear their heads.
The video raises some questions about how alert the Ohio comedian was during that snippet, but a minute-and-change snippet only scrapes the surface of the online vitriol he’s received since then, and many are demanding refunds.
For what it’s worth, his publicist conceded that the Detroit show wasn’t one of his best. Perhaps this immediate backlash will steer him away from late shows and double bookings in the future.