Hey Hartford, hey America, hey world! Pipe down and let Dave Chappelle do his thing!

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.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →

7 thoughts on “Hey Hartford, hey America, hey world! Pipe down and let Dave Chappelle do his thing!

  1. The crowd were not animals, and no other comedian was booed, or threw a hissy fit, which is exactly what Dave Chappelle did. He walked out on stage to a standing ovation. Then he told three minutes of jokes, and told the audience that we’re off somehow. During this break from what I assume was his set, a few people (I mean really just a handful) yelled things like “we love you Dave.” So he got really upset and told us to punch whoever is yelling in the kidneys. A bunch of people walked out and it got quieter, but he did not go on with his set. Instead he BSed with the people in the front row. The rest of us sat there- pretty quietly actually, so see where this would go. It went nowhere and people started to boo. I can’t really blame them because they didn’t pay $100 to see Flight of the Concords or Jeff Ross in tiny braids. All the other acts by the way, did their sets with no problems even though some people yelled pretty nasty things at Jeff Ross. When you’re a professional comedian, and your act falls apart in three minutes, it’s not the audience. I think Dave Chappelle was in no mood last night, and took it out on 10,000 adoring fans.

  2. I was there and I honestly don’t fault chappelle at all. He tried to do his act and every other word was interuppted by the unruly crowd. He was gracious when he first came out and let everyone scream and yell, said hello and jested with random audience members and then tried to do his act. Even when he was no longer doing his act and was just talking and reflecting on the night he was funny. The man tried to do his job , but the audience only wanted to yell like fools

  3. I never understand why a fan of any comic or musician wants to hear the same ‘ol tired material year after year. If your a fan of the performer then you will find the appreciation in whatever they put out not just the notable stuff. Whether the performer was in the wrong in this case or the audience was to blame or even the club that he was playing at, the problem remains that the material that the audience wanted to hear has already been seen by most and the performer knows that. Why else would he had sat down to write out fresh material and new set list. And how hackney is it for any performer to do the same act and material for much longer than the time it takes for the fans the see or hear it. Now that would be the bigger uproar, if Chappelle had came out on stage doing the same material from The Chappelle Show, that nearly everyone in American has seen. Not only would the same ones that heckled at that show make a big fuss about it, so would any of us that are in favor of any fresh material, along with every other respected comedian. Dave Chappelle you are loved and respected by many more than the shallow minded fans at your show last night and we looked forward to watching your performances.

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