Dave Chappelle has been touring the country as the headliner of Funny or Die’s Oddball Comedy Festival, but he came up against his toughest crowd yet in the rough-and-tumble town of Hartford, Connecticut last night. According to various reports, the crowd was quite riled up, showering Chappelle with a barrage of boos and heckles during the set. It got to the point that he just gave up performing after 10 minutes, and instead sat on a stool smoking a cigarette to use up the last 15 minutes of the set. "Ah, fuck you, I’m the one that has to get the review in the paper tomorrow," he said at one point. "I’m going to have to read about this shit for months." Check out videos of the contentious performance below.
Attendees had various views about what happened: according to Chortle, Chappelle "faced a barrage of hollers from the moment he took to the stage at the 30,000-seat Comcast Theatre." He asked people to stop yelling, but they refused: "You are booing yourself," he said over the noise. "Go home and look in the mirror and say “boo” at yourself. At the moment, that’s how I feel about you."
YouTube commenter Nebula Haze wrote in the comments of the above video:
He’d already asked the crowd before this (several times) to stop yelling and let him do his set, but certain people in the crowd wouldn’t stop yelling. The owners of the venue didn’t do anything and let a handful of people ruin the show for everyone. After nearly a half hour, Dave Chappelle said goodnight and walked off the stage (shown in this video).
But another person there, Olia Yelner, commented on Under The Gun that Chappelle was the one acting like a diva:
I was there and it was BS. Out of 10,000 people in this semi-outdoor venue, a handful were yelling- but they were yelling positive things- that they love Dave and are glad that he's back. So he totally flips out. He did a few minutes of jokes- people are saying three minutes because it's what Dave said- and then sat down with cigarettes and a bottle of water. A bunch of people left and it became quiet but he did not continue with his set. He wasted the rest of the time by BSing with people in the front row. This isn't a problem with Hartford because none of the other well-know comedians pulled that kind of nonsense. He's an entertainer who makes a lot of money telling dirty jokes to drunk people- maybe he should be less of a diva and deal with the crowd, it's a comedy show, not the opera. Then again, maybe it's part of some mental health condition.
Before he left the stage, he told the audience, “I forgive some of you, but I don’t forgive all of you," then walked off to the D.J. playing Kanye West's "New Slaves." Hopefully Chappelle's return to standup isn't over just as it got started.
Dave Chapelle's life has become the last ten seconds of a Twilight Zone episode. "You want crowds? Perform for THESE CROWDS."
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) August 30, 2013