This is why we cannot have nice things?
If you love Dave Chappelle and you miss seeing him on your TV and in your life, then when you finally have the chance to witness Chappelle back onstage performing stand-up comedy, what do you do?
What should you do?
Sit back and watch and laugh. Don’t be the kind of witness who testifies as to your love of Chappelle, your favorite bits of his, or has to document the whole thing for the courts of public opinion. If you love seeing Chappelle perform comedy so much, why don’t you just let him do that?!?! Even the Oddball Fest, Funny or Die’s big end-of-summer comedy tour that has Chappelle headlining on a bill with Flight of the Conchords, Hannibal Buress, Al Madrigal, Kristen Schaal, Jeff Ross, Demetri Martin and Brody Stevens, felt compelled to respond in real time @OddballFest.
Last night in Hartford wasn’t the first, and may not be the last time that “fans” of Chappelle couldn’t control their enthusiasm or behave properly at a comedy show.
After trying to compete with screaming fans for a few minutes, Chappelle decided he’d had enough for the night. As he is wont to do, he pulled out a cigarette and sat on a stool onstage for a smoke, reflecting on the occasion. His mind turned to Richard Pryor, sick from MS in his final days as a legendary stand-up comedian. Chappelle recalled Pryor trying to perform one last time, his health failing him as he called it quits 25 minutes into a performance.
Chappelle, onstage in Hartford, continued:
“He says, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ I guess he was sick. It looked like he was physically drained. He goes, ‘I can’t finish.’ And then he just walked offstage. Yo. The crowd went fucking nuts. Everybody stood on their feet. ‘Hooray!!!’ And they said the same thing. They said: ‘We love you, Richard!’ But it was different than this time. And the difference was, that they knew they were never going to see him again. The last time he ever went on tour.”
Audience members yell out “We love you, Dave!”
“I don’t have MS or anything, but, doing this tour is like the end of the fucking — what’s the name of that movie? — no, not that….It’s like any drug movie. The motherfucker gets out of the drug game. He always wants to make one last score. And then they get him.”
Audience members yell out “NO!”
“One time I saw Damon Wayans onstage. And he said. And someone in the audience screamed out, ‘Hey, do Homey the Clown!’ And he’s like, ‘Hey, I just want to do my jokes.’ And someone else goes, ‘Hey, do Homey the Clown!’ He goes, ‘I really don’t want to do that.’ And the crowd goes, ‘Homey the Clown, Homey the Clown.’ He goes, ‘You really wanna see Homey the Clown?’ ‘Yeah!’ And then he farted in the microphone, and I’d never seen somebody do that before. And then he said, ‘Homey don’t play that.’ He dropped the mic, and then he walked offstage. I fucked up when I left my show. You know why? Because my show only has to be 22 minutes of television. I coulda went on television. I coulda read the phone book for 22 minutes. And I woulda gotten $50 million. I shoulda done that shit! But my ego wouldn’t let me. But tonight is different. Tonight my contract says 25 minutes. And I only have three minutes left. And when my three minutes is up, my ass is gone. I’m going straight to the bank and doing night deposit. You can do that now.”
Audience members boo.
“You’re booing yourself! You are booing yourself. I want you to go home, go home and look in the mirror and say, ‘Boo!’ And remember, that’s how I feel about you.”
More boos from the audience.
“Aw, fuck you. I’m the one that has to get the review in the paper tomorrow. I’ll have to read about this shit for months.”
“And the next time I’m on television, and they interview me, and they say, ‘Why did you go back to Africa?’ I’m, I’m not going to say Hartford did it. (laughs) I’m not going to tell them that.”
A minute later, he added: “I can’t believe I just watched the audience scream at me for 25 minutes.” An audience member hands him a book she wrote about herself, which he then started to read and discuss with her. A few minutes more, then Chappelle left the stage, asking the DJ to play him off with “New Slaves” by Kanye West.