Surprise, Dave Chappelle Opened For Chris Rock And Kevin Hart, Referenced Brouhaha Over Canceled Gig In Minneapolis

Chris Rock in Top Five, Dave Chappelle and Kevin Hart on Netflix.
(Image credit: Netflix and Paramount)

Following Dave Chappelle’s notoriously canceled gig in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Wednesday night, the longtime comedian shocked audiences at Madison Square Garden with an appearance onstage with a couple of other heavy hitters on Saturday night. Kevin Hart and Chris Rock were the headliners, but they brought in Chappelle for a surprise round of stand-up, shocking fans. During the performance, the comedian seemingly referenced what’s been going on in the public discourse recently, as well. 

No one attending the show had any idea the comedian would be present in advance. Reports indicate Dave Chappelle popped out while Radiohead’s “Karma Police” played, then he stuck around onstage for a full 20 minutes to do a set. So it wasn’t just like a “I’m still here” sort of pop-in, he actually opened the show for Rock and Hart. 

The comedian did not go into detail up about his recent show’s cancellation, which broke widely after the venue, First Avenue, stated it has worked to make their venues “the safest spaces in the country” following some ongoing backlash Chappelle has faced in recent months. The controversy has stemmed from jokes Chappelle has made in recent Netflix specials, which has also led Netflix to address the backlash. 

TMZ reports Chappelle spoke about getting bum-rushed onstage; the perpetrator in the incident later said he was upset over Chappelle’s Netflix comedy specials. The night of the show, the comedian referenced this incident, joking he “had to sneak [his] way in here." He also referenced all of the headlines he’s been making of late following controversy over his Netflix specials, saying he does appreciate the support from fans. 

Despite what you may have read about in the news, I’m OK, and I appreciate the support.

Phones were reportedly locked up for the show to keep footage from going out, but some people at Madison Square Garden seemingly bypassed these rules, as there is video out there of bits of the performance, which also at one point included an encore from all three comedians and a live goat.

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Kevin Hart’s also been busy partnering with another A-lister --The Rock -- for their upcoming venture DC League of Super Pets. However, he does have a couple more dates set with Chris Rock. The two will be performing at PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey this weekend. On Monday night, they are set to perform in Barclays Center in Brooklyn (those starting ticket prices are much higher, naturally). 

It’s unclear if Dave Chappelle will factor into these shows, but it is worth noting that Chris Rock and The Closer comedian already had a set of shows lined up in September in London. Tickets for those shows went on sale in June.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.