Dave Chappelle has pretty much been the invisible man. Years after he walked away from his wildly successful Comedy Central show and the gazillions of dollars that went with it, he’s still mostly under the radar. But in the past few weeks, he’s done one-off stand-up shows in Minneapolis, Detroit and a few other cities. Tickets only go on sale a few hours or days before the show, and of course they sell out immediately. Everyone wants to know what he’s up to. Is he testing out new material and jokes, or making sure his hasn’t lost his touch? Is this a sign of Chappelle coming back into the limelight?
He’s done a good job of making fun of himself during the shows. At the Detroit show, he said, ”I looked up at a sign and it said ‘Dave Chappelle, Sold Out’,” referring to the sign on the front of the theater. “You’re damn right. I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about me. I sold out (for the money).” Unfortuntaly, fans have heckled him, too. At almost every show. Sometimes Chappelle seems to feed off of the back and forth conversation between himself and the audience.But he’s been visibly and reasonably annoyed when audience members scream out his catchphrases like “I’m Rick James!” It’s like the fans are stuck in the past, and he’s trying hard to put that era behind him and move on. The man’s a genius! let go of the old one-liners.
Die-hard fans have tweeted about being embarrassed about other audience members. (Oh, and social media–Dave hates it…that Dave Chappelle Twitter account is not his). He’s had to put up with hecklers and fans trying to record his shows with their phones–you have to feel for him, and understand why he might want to avoid the limelight.
Hopefully these stand up shows mean that he’s got plans for a new show, or block party or even a movie. For now we’ll have to wait and see. And hope the stand-up audiences aren’t so annoying that he goes back into retirement.