Dave Chapelle: Implosion at the Hard Rock

I rarely write about things outside of real estate here, but I though people would find this interesting...

Last night I watched a personal implosion of amazing proportions.  I attended Zo's 15th Annual Summer Groove Comedy Jam.  After a disjunctive string of god-awful comedians who used body parts and the act of 'doing it' as their only topic (my god, doesn't anyone do comedy any more?!), I awaited what I though would be a breath of intelligent, fresh air.

Nearly three and a half hours after start time, event host D.L. Hughley (not his usual sharp and funny self) brought Dave Chappelle to the stage.  Everyone held their breath waiting to see how six years of large-scale silence would be broken.

Chapelle never got started.  Even though his eyes were sharp and it was evident that he was capable of blowing every other talent off the stage with just a single joke, Chapelle started his "set" by stuttering his way through an apology about how he might not do well after 6 years of being "stuck in the house" in rural Ohio.

The cheers (and a few jeers) were easy to hear because Chapelle never really started his set.  He became fixated with two people in the front row who were using their cell phones to record Chapelle.  At one point Dave asked "How much god-damn memory you got in that thing?" and followed up with "Once that hits YouTube, I'm going to have to explain my appearance on CNN."

Although Chapelle went on to address other hecklers, I think that was the end of the night for him.  My belief is that he didn't expect to be recorded like that and once he realized this benefit appearance was going to get worldwide publicity and that the security people were not rushing to stop the audience from recording, he was DONE.

I counted four times that he stopped the show to check his text messages. I'd bet it was his publicist asking him to take a bow and board a plane as soon as possible.  He also referenced his kids, who apparently had made the trip to Miami with him.

At one point, he tried to swing himself into his set, but you could see his mind racing about how it had become a 'war' as to who was going to outlast the other.  He spoke about how he didn't need the audience and that he was betting he'd outlast the people in the seats.  Then he repeated "Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock." between other half thought out ramblings about how he loved the audience energy and hated hecklers and how they had ruined the show.  "Is it me, yes I am to blame.  I wore the wrong shirt", Chapelle blathered.

Chapelle spent 38 minutes on stage irritating the audience in a somewhat clever manner.  About half the attendees left during his set wondering what the heck they had just seen.  My wife pulled me away before he left the stage at minute 46, but I am told that he never cracked a single joke from what could be called a routine.

I wanted Dave Chapelle to succeed. Watching his moves and eyes, it was obvious that his original intent was to perform, but something went horribly wrong in the first few seconds of his time on stage.

Perhaps he had a relapse from 6 years ago when he walked off in the middle of the 3rd season of his Comedy Central show?  Perhaps he was ill prepared and expected to just coast during a charity event?  Perhaps the thought of YouTube journalism killed the moment?  We'll never know...and I suspect we won't ever see Dave Chapelle try another large stage again.