At a charity benefit held by Alonzo Mourning, the comedian was short on jokes.
After the last season of the "Chappelle Show" it seemed that comedy just wasn't the same without Dave Chappelle. So when audiences in Miami heard that Dave was coming back on the stage to perform for Zo's Summer Grove, Alonzo Mourning's fundraising event, they expected the old jokes and charm to flow like before. Unfortunately, this was not the case. According to reports and audience member twitter updates, Chappelle checked text messages four times, spent most of the set talking to audience members and generally just standing around.
Roland S. Martin, an analyst for TV One, the Tom Joyner Morning Show and CNN, was in the audience and tweeting throughout the performance. He said:
Chappelle says this is a "test of wills." He keeps saying "tick tock" & he has "nothing but time." He's just staring at the crowd & sighing
This is not the Chappelle that we have all known and loved. The audience felt the same way and seemed to get more and more vocal throughout the performance. One woman screamed, "Can you tell a joke so we can enjoy ourselves!" Martin seemed as perplexed about the out-of-character performance as everyone else. His analysis:
I'm talking to other folks & they say Dave is a very cerebral comic & folks felt the audience became invasive into his comedy.
This is quite possible, but heckler's have always played a critical role in stand-up comedy. If Dave has come to a point where he can't deal with them, how will the remainder of his career take shape? In fact Dave has always been extremely adept at communicating with his audience. Touré, a social commentator and self proclaimed Chappellologist, described a pop-up set Dave did in New York in the beginning of July, not more than a month ago. From Touré's description he witnessed a night of true Chappelle, when the comedian even asked the audience what they wanted to hear about and riffed hilariously off of their input. This is the iconic Dave.
One performance will not make or break his career. Dave Chappelle will still be continuously quoted in day to day conversations by people in every state and every economic bracket. His show will still go down as one of the funniest sketch comedy shows in history and we will all still instantly salivate at the hint of a new season. So he had a bad night. Athlete's have bad games, actors make bad movies and politicians make bad calls. But, when you're at the top of your game, none of that matters. What matters is how people remember you, and for millions of people across the world what we remember is pure hilarity.