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Thursday, June 21st, 2012

What to Expect When Dave Chappelle Does a Surprise Show in Your Town

Following an abrupt departure from his wildly popular (and still widely quoted) sketch show, stand-up/actor Dave Chappelle has managed to maintain a relatively low profile. Though he’s opted to stay out of the spotlight, he still does badass things like decide, on a whim, to ride his motorcycle across the country for a secret run of shows. Earlier this week, with less than 24 hours notice, Chappelle scheduled and sold out Austin’s 1,200-seat Paramount Theater. It was a rare opportunity to witness the emotional and intellectual growth of a legendary act, but unfortunately, the audience was mostly there to see the Prince-mocking Half Baked star’s greatest hits. When the toned-down comic who took the stage wasn’t quite what they expected, the show became less of a performance and more an awkward back and forth between Chappelle and the crowd. Understandably, people were pissed, and in the days since, there’s been a lot of blame placed on the audience, the venue, Austin in general and Chappelle himself, but the bottom line is, it’s been nearly a decade since we’ve seen much of Chappelle, and things have changed:

You SHOULD Expect

— Secondhand smoke (the comic burned through half a pack before tossing the rest, one by one, into the crowd.)

— To learn a lot about the front row (at one point, Chappelle glanced down at an audience member and just asked, “What’s your deal?”)

— Some long pauses (and there’s nothing wrong with that.)

You SHOULDN’T Expect

— To see Ashy Larry (or Rick James, or any other relic from that era.)

— To get away with recording the show (your phone will end up onstage, with your last Siri search played back.)

— To actually get thrown out if you get rowdy — the comic was the first to admit he was grateful for the sidetracking, since he had “about four minutes of material.”

For more on the “disaster,” here’s my detailed account of what went down.

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  • Peezy

    I actually wrote a review of the show he did here in Memphis last week.  It was utter chaos.  Here's a link: 
    http://www.reddit.com/r/StandUpComedy/comments/uzuqy/my_review_of_dave_chappelles_standup_show_last/

  • Carrie Griffin

    This is interesting, in between this account and Peezy's. I haven't seen him but a friend went to his Dallas show–he had the same mostly improvised set based largely off whatever the audience threw at him, but he said he really loved the show and had a great time. I wonder if it was actually just a better audience situation at that show or if this just suggests something about the kind of things my friends find entertaining.

  • http://twitter.com/JDrimmer5000 Josh Drimmer

    This doesn't sound that different from the infamous Sacramento show Chappelle walked out. IN 2004. C'mon, people, you've had 8 years to broaden your expectations.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1156342/posts