UPDATE 9/4/2013 5:54 p.m. (PT)
Dave Chappelle has spoken out about his recent show in Connecticut, according to a TMZ report. "I don't want anything bad to happen to the United States," Chappelle reportedly told TMZ, "but if North Korea ever drops a nuclear bomb on this country, I swear to God I hope it lands in Hartford, Connecticut."
He also called the crowd members "evil" and "young, white alcoholics" and said he "wanted to pull a reverse Kramer and call them all crackers or something crazy like that," a reference to the racially-charged tirade of comedian Michael Richards, who played Kramer on the show Seinfeld. No word on if Dave will be returning to the stage anytime soon.
ORIGINAL STORY 8/30/2013 3:50 p.m. (PT)
Dave Chappelle might have quit comedy last night. An Ebony writer was at the show in Hartford, Connecticut, last night for the Funny or Die Oddball Tour, co-headlined by Chappelle and Flight of the Conchords, and witnessed what happened.
In what was supposed to be Dave’s return to stand-up comedy after multiple departures from the medium, the fourth stop of the tour seemed to be a deja vu moment for the funnyman. He was five minutes into his set when the audience became loud, aggressive, and relentless in their rants and jeers.
Dave stopped the show, sat down on the stage with water and cigarettes, interacted occasionally by reading portions of a book, flipped the audience off, but fulfilled his 25-minute slot before leaving the stage — and possibly the tour. The reason for this sudden turn? A racist audience, Ebony writer Lesli-Ann Lewis explains.
"I’ve been up here a while now and I thought it was me but now I’m sure it’s you. There is definitely something wrong with you," Dave said to the audience shortly before retiring to a seated position. And Lesli-Ann concluded of the audience-comedian interaction, “This was a Black artist shrugging the weight of White consumption, deciding when enough was enough.”
This isn’t the first time that Dave Chappelle has taken issue with the way his audiences interact with him. He abruptly left the wildly successful Chappelle’s Show in 2006 due to reported “mental exhaustion,” but he has been quoted about what precisely disturbed him.
While filming the final episode of his Comedy Central show, he was doing a sketch that brought up black stereotypes by way of a “black pixie” who wore black face, and a white audience member made him feel like he had to quit. He said at the time, “When he laughed, it made me uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, that was the last thing I shot before I told myself I gotta take f---ing time out after this. Because my head almost exploded.”
In 2012, he again found that it was the audience aspect that kept his funny from being fun. Perhaps it was his willingness to include them in the comedy that was the problem. That only works if they get the joke — if they respect the history behind his humor, and understand that sometimes they need to watch from outside, that they’re not in on the joke.
Last night’s show may be Dave Chappelle’s last. He is scheduled for dates thru September 22, including one tonight in Pittsburgh. Will he show? We’re not sure, but it’s starting soon, and we wouldn’t blame him for sitting this one out — with or without his cigarettes and water.