Last night I attended an Aziz Ansari stand-up performance. Before the show started, Aziz made an announcement to the crowd from offstage — under the alias of “DJ Eggplant Parmesan” — asking show attendees not to interrupt it with any “WOOOO”s or to ask questions or to make random references to any of the characters he’s become famous for playing. The one time someone did actually interrupt his show to yell something out, Aziz promptly halted his act and yelled, “SHUT THE F*CK UP!” and that was that. The crowd cheered his stern shaming of the girl responsible for the outburst, and the show went on without a hitch.
It’s sad that any comic, much less one of Aziz’s stature, has to make such an announcement and go to great lengths to control their crowds. I’ve never been able to wrap my brain around how some titanic as$holes can believe that the price of admission to a comedy show grants them the right to interrupt it and heckle the performer(s) if they so choose. Like, who the f*ck raises this breed of moron? Do they not realize that doing such things potentially ruins the show for all the people who paid to see it?
In reality, they don’t care, which is why I (and many others) consider comedy show hecklers/interrupters among the lowest forms of subhuman. They should be sterilized, in fact, so that they can’t reproduce — humanity would benefit from it. If you don’t like a show, get up, walk out and ask for your money back at the box office like a normal goddamn human being.
Now, having a few friends who work in comedy, I’m aware of a few cities where this sort of thing is sadly prevalent — cities appropriately known in comedy circles as “bad comedy cities.” Predictably, these are usually the same cities that register high concentrations of mouth-breathing dipsh*ts among the local population. Austin is not typically one of those cities, but that wasn’t last night when Dave Chappelle — DAVE CHAPPELLE!!! — made a surprise appearance at the Paramount Theater.
After it was announced yesterday morning that Chappelle would be performing at the Paramount, all of the theater’s 1200 seats were sold a couple of hours later. What happened later that night sounds like nothing short of a disaster — a scene one would assume would be much more fitting for a Texas city like Dallas (which hosted a Chappelle performance the previous night that went off without a hitch, btw) than Austin, that’s for sure. (The fact that the Austin show tickets were presumably snapped up by in-the-know locals just makes it all the more baffling.)
Taking the stage in jeans and a light blue t-shirt, a buff and chain-smoking Chappelle brought the packed house to a standing ovation. Chappelle, who allegedly arrived to Austin from Dallas on his motorcycle, said he never dreamed he would have this much fun in Texas. Of course, the provincial and self-righteous Austinites in the crowd yelled out how Austin was not like the rest of Texas. And so it began. A night of shouting, (presumably drunk) morons interrupting the once King of Comedy with their worthless insights.
Chappelle steadied the ship a bit, controlling the room with his casual, likable manner, and calmly ticking off a few prepared bits. He joked about his absence from the entertainment world and how he had dodged some odd offers to get back in the game (a movie from Master P. did not pass his sniff test).