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When a stand-up comedy set goes well, it ends with a lot of applause and usually a meet-and-greet. When it doesn’t go well, it sometimes turns into a shouting match between audience and performer. Over the years, Dave Chappelle has delivered a lot more performances that fit into the first category, but every now and again, he’s laid an egg in the second category too, whether it was his fault or not. One of those aforementioned eggs was laid in Hartford last week when he shouted and later walked off the stage, but rather than ignoring what happened, Dave decided to address the situation head on when he took the stage in Chicago earlier this week.
Aggressive, foul-mouthed and most importantly hilarious, Dave’s take on the Hartford situation wasn’t exactly kind to anyone involved. He painted the audience as “young, white alcoholics” and compared his own act to Siegfried and Roy’s, saying everyone in the crowd should have been happy about his freak out because no one goes to a tiger show to watch people “be safe”.
"I wanted to pull a reverse Kramer and call them all crackers or something crazy like that."
Chappelle is, without a doubt, one of the most talented comedians in America. His sense of timing is unparalleled, and his material is often very biting and creative. Everyone knows about his incredibly popular, shortly-lived Comedy Central show, but the man has also been owning stages for decades. As such, he’s more than capable of winning over an average crowd. Now and again, however, the deck just gets stacked against you. In the loveable documentary When Stand Up Stood Out, the filmmakers talk extensively about heckling, admitting even the insanely brilliant Steven Wright, who co-starred with Chappelle in Half Baked, once told an audience to go fuck their mothers before dropping the mic and walking out.
Hecklings and angry responses happen, but for the sake of Chappelle and his fans, I hope he has a lot more nights like Chicago than nights like Hartford moving forward.