It must be hard to be a comedian. You struggle and struggle for many years with lackluster crowds, unruly audiences, and zero money, and then maybe, mayyyybe, .0001% of the time, you make it big, like to Dave Chappelle status. You’re well-regarded in the industry and you’re making money doing what you love, but it always comes down to that last set. At any point, you can have an off-night, or get heckled, or fly off the handle, and you’re right exactly back where you started — in front of a silent group of people who don’t think you’re funny, and they want you to know it. Only this time, there are a crapload of them, and they paid a crapload of money to get in.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, this exact thing happened to Dave Chappelle the other day. He was performing a show in Hartford, Connecticut on August 28th, and for whatever reason, the crowd was just totally not down with him. Recently, he’s apparently changed up his style a little bit, transitioning to a more mellow, conversational style instead of a prepared set with planned out jokes. He’s even been on a bit of a hiatus, so when he agreed to do the Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival tour, people were like, aw yeah son, don’t call it a comeback. But after ten minutes of his set, the crowd was so heckle-y and yell-y (both real English words) that he completely stopped performing and just started waiting out his twenty-five minute contractual performance time by smoking cigarettes, telling stories about Damon Wayans’ performing in front of a bad crowd and Richard Pryor’s last performances, and even reading an audience member’s book. At the end of about fifteen minutes, he delivered the following speech:
“Alright you guys, I like some of you, I hate some of you, I forgive some of you, but I don’t forgive all of you. You guys have totally ruined my chances [of] running for Congress or something. Thank you, goodnight.”
…and then exited to ‘New Slaves’ by Kanye West. You can see the whole shenanigan go down here, in three parts: