Speaking as a middle-aged, middle-class white guy, I loved Dave Chappelle. I watched the shit out of his show, and he always - always - made me laugh. Even when I was laughing at myself. Some people can’t do that - they can’t look in the mirror. It makes them uncomfortable. And yeah - when people feel uncomfortable about their own foibles, they lash out at the one that made them look. I totally understand why Dave would get sick of that shit, and as much as I wish he’d go back to doing something he’s incredibly talented at, I have immense respect for recognizing the bullshit & getting away from it before it ate him up. I’d rather he be alive, but only making me laugh in re-runs or on YouTube than another “youthful tragedy” & still only seen in reruns & YouTube…
I find this take interesting, mainly because I didn’t see the inherent “white on black” racism.
My take on it was generational, in addition to “white kid behavior” towards anyone of any race. The newest batch of young people who don’t have any sense of decorum because their entire lives are spent in social media interaction.
Or maybe it’s just that I want them to get the hell off Dave’s lawn.
I can’t really tell from the video, but did he really go up in front of a thousand people and sit out his contractual half hour without making any effort to entertain them? Because if so, he deserved the boos. He worries about his half hour being long… what about the thousand half hours in the audience that paid money to have their half hour wasted? If you don’t want to tell jokes, don’t sit on a stool with a spotlight on you in front of a thousand people.
I’d take Ebony’s words to heart if Dave wasn’t known for doing this sort of thing. It bums me out to think that he can’t handle a slightly rowdy audience. I’ve seen Chris Rock , Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Burr, and many others eviscerate unruly audiences. This “I’m going to teach you a lesson” thing is not right when audiences pay to see a show. Its such a bummer.
I have to agree: part of the deal with choosing stand up as a career is, indeed, Heckler Management. Writing comedic responses, with even escalating degrees of vitriol to be used in case of an escalating heckler, would see relatively simple. The fact is that 99% of the audience WANTS the talent to ridicule the heckler, who is busy ruining the show for everyone, so the audience doesn’t even need to be sold on the entertianer’s response: they are SALIVATING for a fight, and WANT the talent to win!
It couldn’t be racism. Everyone knows racism is only a problem down here in the South. Right?
Looks like he just put on a poor show and lost the crowd.
He clearly doesn’t want to work, but wants the money, so he just gets up there and talks down to the crowd who paid money to see him.
A girl had tickets to a comedy club, so I went along. Well I was the only white guy in a large club, and my date was Pacific Islander with a big naturally curly 'do. So the comic was heckling me because I was the only white guy in the club. It was a good time but I have to admit that for the whole evening about 1/3 of the jokes went right past me.
A very good friend of mine was at the show that night. She has followed the story as it’s being reported after the fact.
In her recounting it (some of which she posted to Facebook live) Dave came out immediately hostile to the crowd. The crowd was thinking it was part of the act and laughed along until Dave finally sat down on the stage and threatened to just sit his time out. That’s when everyone started to pick up that this was indeed going South.
She does share that the videos that have been posted pickup about 10 minutes into his segment. I haven’t seen any videos surface of the first half of the meltdown. That’s where Chappelle is most contentious with the crowd.
Again, I’m relaying this second-hand, but from a very reliable source who was at the show.
This. I bet tickets were at least $30. I would’ve booed him too. The Ebony piece tries to inject some sort of racism into this and they failed.
Interesting article, particularly the comments from the venue:
Here’s why we didn’t run up and down our 1,200+ seat venue throwing people out: the performer was engaging and encouraging the crowd. When security was escorting a patron out that had been recording the show, Dave Chappelle said he should stay. He then chose to respond and include the audience in his show. This created a domino effect of audience “participation.” While we may not be in agreement with the choice, it was the artist’s choice to interact with the audience that we had to ultimately respect.
Agreed. That video shows a really craptastic comedy set. It sounds like Chappelle had no act prepared and wasn’t even trying. I have a hard time buying into the cultural studies analysis this time. I think Chappelle just isn’t into the whole comedy thing…again.
Chappelle’s ongoing problems with performing make me sad. He is a seriously funny comedian, with some wickedly sharp and sometimes uncomfortable things to say. About everyone.
I used to live in a sober house (halfway house), with a lot of younger, dumber (whiter?) dudes. We’d sometimes watch his show as a group. My previous experience watching him, with my slightly older, slightly wiser (for drug addicts), slightly less obliviously white friends really was different. When these younger guys laughed at the “Did he just call us…?” bit, it was clear that half the joke went straight past them. They were just getting off on hearing a nasty slur said out loud. Likewise with the metahumor of the Real World spoof.
So, I believed him when he described his reasons for leaving his show. And I think it’s highly likely that some of that vibe was present at this show, as described in the Ebony piece. But I also wonder if maybe the guy just isn’t cut out for his career. I’m a reasonably funny person, and I’m even fairly good at performing stuff in front of people, but there’s no way in hell my thin skin would survive the traditional “hostility” between audience and comedian… I guess I’m tempted to join some others in saying that clueless audiences are one thing, and professionalism is another; people paid for a performance, and got a protest.
It would be relatively simple if it was regular heckling, but it’s not. It’s people shouting the same thing over and over, at every single show, as if nobody’s done it before.
Unless you’re capable of a Bill Hicks style explosive tirade, shutting a heckler down usually requires you to use what they said against them. But that’s only possible when the heckle has some kind of substance to it. What Chappelle is targeted with doesn’t.
How many pre-written comedic responses does he need to use before people will let him do his set? How often can he repeat those retorts before people demand he comes up with some new comebacks for the same old interruptions? They’re not heckling, they’re trolling.
People have essentially found his kryptonite. But unlike in Superman, they don’t wheel it out with a new twist once every few months to keep things interesting. They just dump it all over him at every opportunity and then complain when he loses his powers. I’d choose the Fortress of Solitude over wasting my time with asshats like that too.
No. Paying money does not entitle you to be hostile to the entertainer. Understand this. Believe it or not, he’s probably doing that shit for you as much as he is doing it for himself.
I also like this write up. Dave Chappelle’s rabid fans heckle him off stage
Especially this part, which is highly applicable to some previous posters here.
On Twitter, comedian Patton Oswalt and others voiced their support of Chappelle, at which time, a fan, attempting to clarify the situation, erroneously explained that people at last night’s Hartford show “were hardly heckling him. Just yelling that they loved him and quoting older material.” Oswalt, on behalf of comedians everywhere, schooled the misinformed fan. “In that tweet, you just perfectly illustrated why people like you are the problem.”
No, this is white shitheads acting entitled to the gifts of blacks. This is not really different from Miley Cyrus’s “twerking” performace where she objectified the hell out of black women in myriad ways all while sticking her ignorant-assed tongue out the side of her stupid mouth like she was the lick-m-aid kid. A bunch of drunk white dudes being disrespectful to a man with talents they can’t even imagine as if they are not there to admire and receive but to poke and prod.
Please familiarize yourself with the concept of microagression.
You can attempt to analyze this incident atomically, but it ultimately exists as part of a continuous life where Chappelle has to deal with institutional and individual racism. That racism is often so subtle that the perpetrators themselves are unable to recognize it as such, but it takes a cumulative toll on the recipients nonetheless.
It’s not the place of white people to act as gatekeepers for deciding whether microagressions get the official racist seal of disapproval.