Dave Chappelle reportedly has onstage meltdown in Hartford [UPDATED] | The Laugh ButtonThe Laugh Button

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  • Dave Chappelle reportedly has onstage meltdown in Hartford [UPDATED]


    Although the Dave Chappelle-headlined Funny or Die Oddball Festival is only four dates old, it ran into some trouble tonight in Hartford. According to an audience member that was at the show, after performing for about 10 minutes, Chappelle stopped his routine, claiming that people in front were making too much noise. For the next 25 minutes, he sat on a stool, smoking, reading a book and making idle chat until he fulfilled his time allotment.

    A check on Twitter reveals some disgruntled comedy fans. The caption to the above photo on Instagram reads “That’s Dave chappelle walking off stage after the Hartford crowd ruined the show and he left us without a show…”

    Below are some tweets from concertgoers:



    Yet amid all the disappointed tweets are some supporters. One Twitter user said “People in Hartford suck. Was at the Dave Chappelle show tonight and be couldn’t get a word out!” There are a handful of other tweets saying that the crowd was disrespectful and loud and Chappelle did the right thing by not performing, but they’re far outnumbered by those that want a refund and feel like they got ripped off. We’ll see if or how the rest of the tour continues.

    UPDATE: Here’s some video of Chappelle’s performance shot by a YouTube user. In the beginning, he’s talking about one of Richard Pryor‘s final performances, which he opened for. That leads to the rest of his ‘performance.’ Did he rip off the crowd, or did they turn against him before giving him a chance to settle in to his groove? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

    Update: At a later Oddball date Chappelle addressed the night stating that crowd was extremely unruly.

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    • Jimmy

      I was there. Honestly, I’m not sure what to think. He should have contained the crowd. All he had to do was talk. It’s what he does best. Instead, he let the crowd dictate his set. Sad and unfortunate. He’s a professional. We, the people of Hartford are morons.

      • RobK

        He should’ve kept on going. That’s what professionals do. Either way, the show as a whole was great.

    • MVC

      I was there, as well: it was eerie. People were doing the usual shouting but he’s a 40 year-old man. He was either really tired/drunk/high or something and clearly didn’t want to perform. He can blame it on people shouting all he wants, but during the short bits when he talked people shut up and listened. Sad to have seen.

    • Dustin

      It was absolutely not the crowd entirely, when a comedian of his stature comes out of retirement of course people are gonna say I love you and what not but it was not that bad honestly. he told a couple funny jokes for about five minutes and then stopped which was fine. He seemed to be doing it to get the crowd to stop and they did stop but when the guy you pay good money to see just sits there dead silent for a good minute or so with 8,000 people there of course that silence will be lost with a few idiots yelling whooo or whatever. Seriously count out a minute and a half in your head of complete silence, it felt like forever. That being said I am a big fan of comedy and I said I’m going to ride this out and see what happens aka this could be historic final performance or something. Then he lost me completely, he flipped off the crowd, said it was the worst crowd he’s ever seen and that he was just going to sit there for 25 minutes until he fulfilled his time and thanked us for the money we spent because he needed it. What a total a-hole. He seemed like he was on something stronger than weed and admitted to us this was a giant money grab for him because he needed it and pointed out he didn’t care about us because he was smart enough to get paid before the tour. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing, it was mind boggling. I hate to say it but this tour may be coming to an end very soon. I can’t imagine these other great comics will want to be associated with what happened tonight and I think Dave is severely depressed and needs help. Many comics die to young because of depression and drugs and that’s what it looked like tonight, almost like he and his career were dying right in front of us. People did get pissed and heckle hard at the end but that was as they were walking out of a show they paid good money to see and had the headliner do nothing but sit there and smoke butts. I won’t say the show was a loss for me because the others were great but there is no way this tour makes it all the way through.

    • the great wall of china

      I sat in the 3rd row. For the record, Dave just did not feel it tonight, and so he just decided not to make an effort. It would be a misrepresentation to say that the crowd was different or atypical of a several-thousand-capacity venue that has been serving alcohol for over 4 hours. Every orchard has a few bad apples… Dave just did not feel compelled enough to ignore the comments of that select few hecklers. He was blindsided when someone yelled ‘Oprah!’ and he just let it slide downhill. Hartford is not Austin, nor Dallas, and it certainly is not NYC or Boston… but take turning 40 last week, add 8 years of absence, throw in some whining about not being in Ohio while poorly emulating Pryor, and multiply against Oprah kryptonite… and you have comedy’s version of a hot mess. Dave, you forgot that you have a responsibility to yourself to be this generations voice of comic genius. Your panties are in a bunch, and if you ever come back, make it up to everyone who bought a ticket, including this Moron writing this comment who drove 3 hours after hiring a sitter because he felt a responsibility to get your back. In the meanwhile, don’t slam the bus door against your vaginha on the way to Holmdel and Camden.

    • Kevin D.

      I was there too… I thought the Damon Wayans story he told summed up the entire situation perfectly.

      For those that weren’t there he told a story about watching Damon Wayans trying to perform a set and people kept yelling at him to do Homey the Clown. He kept trying to do his act, but people wouldn’t stop yelling things out and trying him to get him to do the old stuff. So Damon Wayans farted in the mic, said “Homey don’t play that” and walked off stage. I believe the only thing Dave could not muster tonight was a good fart when he needed one.
      To be honest I thought his actions were a great commentary on the crowd, about why he took the break, and about how much the price of fame really has taken the toll on him. “For those that won’t stop yelling go home and look in the mirror and understand that you did this yourself. This is your fault.” I mean, hell, he spent 10 minutes talking to that woman that was sitting in the front about her book who CLEARLY was there more to promote her book as anything. She didn’t give a damn about anyone else there.
      Tonight we saw one of the funniest 3 people (IMO) to have ever lived and graced a stage get booed and shouted at because he didn’t want to have to compete with people shouting things at him about “Half Baked” and “Oprah”, etc… He’s Dave Chappelle, people, he didn’t need your help.
      Got tickets to the NJ show in 2 weeks. Can’t wait to see how that one goes..
      And for the record I would probably pay $100 bucks again to see him sit on a stool, smoke and just talk. Every day of the week. Remember folks, why you paid your money to go see him. You didn’t pay to be a part of the show.

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    • Jon

      You go on stage and try to do a comedy routine with people yelling random crap at you every time you open your mouth. He tried multiple times to get through it but every time he started talking someone screamed something at him and got him off track. There’s a reason why you get thrown out of comedy clubs for being loud and obnoxious, chappelle did what he had to and it was still funny to hear him tear down the idiots.

    • Jules

      The Richard Pryor story happened after he started insulting us, he deserved what the crowd was giving him at that point.

    • PoopsMagee

      I’ve seen numerous sold out comedy shows in major venue’s with thousands of seats, and never heard people yelling and interfering like this. This isn’t atypical of a rock concert or a music festival, but a comedy show?? Those few morons yelling and trying to be funny ruined the entire show for everyone else. Should Dave have just stopped, thereby depriving the well behaved people of their experience? Probably not. But I can’t say I blame him.

      And for the record, absolutely positively NOBODY thinks hecklers, or whatever the noisy attention whores at comedy shows want to be called, are funny. Not clever, not “participating”, just fucking annoying. If this is you, then please just wait and watch the show at home so you can avoid spoiling shows for everyone around you, or in this case everyone in the entire venue.

      Looking forward to seeing you in September Dave

      • Jules

        The crowd was fine until he started insulting us.

        • PoopsMagee

          So he started insulting the crowd completely unprovoked? I find that rather hard to believe, and even if he was insulting the crowd, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: You’re at a stand-up comedy show. This guy is performing an act. It’s what you paid to see. It’s crucial you don’t take anything he says personally. If you go see a stand up comic you should just be prepared to hear everything from a mild crack about your home town to the comic telling the crowd he just fucked all your mothers.

          Like I said, it’s not fair what he did to the people who were politely listening, just saying I see how he could feel overwhelmed and react the way he did. Not justifying, just understanding.

        • ceeza

          screaming “i’m rick james bi*ch” at him and you expect him to not insult you? Hartford people are trash

      • PoopsMagee

        And another thought occurred to me. While it is really unfortunate that Hartford was deprived of the material Dave had prepared for this tour, look at it this way: You all just witnessed the biggest stand up meltdown since Michael Richards in 2006. You’ll get to hear the material sooner or later, but until then you’ll be able to say “yeah man, I was there. It was insane.”

        So I guess that’s worth something, no?

        • ceeza

          that wasn’t a “meltdown” ya idiot.. that was a f you mic drop..

          • PoopsMagee

            I guess it’s all a matter of opinion. I would imagine an “f you mic drop” would look more like a comic actually dropping the mic and leaving. When a comic decides to stop performing and wind down the clock to fulfill his contract, then proceed to sigh and say things like “I’m never coming back from this man. No, no, I’m never coming back from this. This was like… This was a fuckin nightmare” it doesn’t appear to me that he has 100% confidence in his decision. But again, that’s just my opinion.

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    • Harlem

      I’m just back from watching DAVE CHAPPELLE. HE DIDN’T MELT DOWN – He rose up & served a BIG OL’ PIMP SLAP to the unruly Oddball crowd who were truly unworthy of his material. Disrespect heckles like, “Go back to Africa” yielded the just reaction. Chappelle held his head, flipped the audience the bird & let the clock tick down to fulfill his contract. Love to you Dave! Hartford, Connecticut…gimme dem shoes & get ya head right!

      • WilliamWeishaupt

        I spent $100 and drove three hours in some of the most worst traffic I’ve seen in my life just to see Dave Chappelle. I didn’t have a sip of booze and sat there respectfully quiet all evening. I didn’t deserve to be “pimp slapped”, as you put it.

        99% of that crowd was acting appropriately. Dave Chappelle is a professional comedian. You don’t become a professional comedian and last as long as Chappelle without learning how to properly shoot down hecklers and defuse rowdy crowds. It’s just part of the business. I’m sorry, but when an experienced comedian such as Dave Chappelle feels he needs to “pimp slap” an audience that paid good money (and was, for the most part, respectful), all because he couldn’t handle a few hecklers who had probably been drinking since the doors opened five or so hours earlier… it’s a meltdown.

        • ceeza

          i love how you somehow think properly shooting down hecklers is part of a comedians job description.. It’s not! The meltdown is on the crowds behalf not his.. You are not there to direct . Idiots..

          • WilliamWeishaupt

            It is part of the job description though — every job has its unpleasant aspects and that is the unpleasant aspect of being a professional comedian. This is part of why not just anyone with a great sense of humor and a wonderful sense of timing can be a professional comedian. It is the reason why “professional comedian” is a relatively rare profession and hence why they get paid what they do.

            Don’t think for a second that it is like you or me getting up on that stage. Chappelle is a seasoned performer who has been doing this for a couple decades now. I assure you, he has been heckled many times and has been heckled far worse than he was last night — all professional comedians deal with it and part of the business is learning to defuse it. The fact that he was unable to do so last night tells me something else was up.

            There is no excuse for heckling. That, however, is not the whole story regarding what happened last night.

          • WilliamWeishaupt

            To put this in perspective, I a while back I worked at an attraction at a well known theme park in Florida. Part of my job involved working a pre-show that involved performing for and entertaining larger groups of people than most people would be comfortable with. Sometimes people in those groups would be drunk and sometimes they would heckle and be quite abusive. It was probably the worst part of the job and, sure, I shouldn’t have had to deal with it as it wasn’t in the “official job description”… but I knew, going in, that it was something I would have to deal with. That is part of being an entertainer.

            I am not saying heckling is right. I’ve been heckled. It sucks and it’s not like you get into entertainment saying, “Gosh, I hope someone heckles me today!” But when you entertain groups of people you find ways to deal with it or you don’t last, just like people in the military have to deal with getting shot at or firefighters deal with flaming debris. It’s one of the less glamorous parts of the job.

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    • Suprised

      Things were great and then after 5 minutes, Dave told a joke that didn’t get any laughs. He said something like “5 minutes on stage and I’m met with silence.” After that it seemed he left more silence and a few jerks filled those silences. If he had continued and told some more JOKES I don’t think we would have HEARD the people that yelled out “Half Baked” or a past skit’s name, or “we Love you Dave”. I think Dave was pissed from minute 5.
      AND The article is misleading. Dave didn’t start off with the Richard Pryor story. The above video was after he had sat down on the stage and informed us that he had enough smokes and water to last for the little over 15 minutes left contractually…and then he sat there….AND SAT THERE AND SAT THERE. He said he could NIGHT deposit our money, “cause they have that!”.(which, was kinda funny) Then he grabbed the stool and finished with these last 13 minutes of above video. By this time the crowd was done. I was on my way out during his “You think I don’t have new material” line @ 4 minutes on the top video…it was WELL into his “act”, not 4 minutes out. I’ve heard more “yell outs’ at most other shows because they don’t test for douchiness at the gate. However, if an act performs…there is no
      outlet nor audience for the dumba$$es who want to hear themselves scream out “Half-Baked.” By halfway, there were LOUD boos, but by then Dave had stopped performing and was sitting on the floor, just yelling at the audience…all of us ;(
      It was really sad, because I love Chapelle’s comedy. I laughed at his jokes when he came out, don’t actually remember the joke that fell flat, and sat shocked for the rest.
      My thanks to the rest of the tour partners (Yay Conchords et al!) for making this a good evening and my pities for their pocketbooks if Dave continues this way.

    • Tyquan Vern

      I paid over $200 for my tickets, and I’m disgusted. He played us. It’s an event, there’s going to be noise, and the fact that he refused to perform until the audience was completely silent is ridiculous. He has no class, nor any respect for the people who helped to make him the super star thst he is.

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    • James Perez

      That’s what happens when dumbass people tailgate a fucking show for hours getting blasted and think their on cloud nine when in actuality they are 2 minutes from getting their ass kicked. Yeah I was there and though I really wanted to hear his material after seeing how the crowd was even before he went on, they didn’t deserve nor were they ready for his brilliance. Why you think no one goes to Hartford unless its the Casinos for the most part. The state is whack as well as the people apparently. Make your money here then bounce!!!

      • jtiddy

        As I like to call them folks in Connecticut…..”Connectic*nts.”….

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    • AsaC

      I was there and it was all Dave. Don’t buy the BS from Dave on stage. Read the reports from earlier tour stops. He did the same thing, basically. He has ten minutes of material, by all reports, so he didn’t prepare for the tour. Then he doubly insults the crowd by blaming them. Super sad. Sad for all the people like me who think of Chapelle as a true legend, and for Dave himself. Now I know what went wrong at the end of his TV show. he doesn’t want to perform, and he’s nuts.
      By the way, the so-called heckling was mostly just people at an outdoor festival yelling I love you Dave, or catchphrases from his show, to fill the awkward minutes when Dave was silent. It was super-bizarre. In fact, most people thought he was just joking, and we all sat there for 20 minutes while he did nothing on stage, until he actually walked off. He said he was waiting until he had fulfilled his contract, which was 25 minutes, and that’s exactly what he did.
      What an unprofessional a–hole.

      • Keepin It Real in Hartford

        Dave the D Bag

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    • Brad

      I was there too. Dave was totally unprepared, and like another commenter said, just not feeling it. The other acts were great and had no problems at all with the crowd. Dave was unprepared, and the small bit of material he did have was uninteresting and self-indulgent. I’m lad he wasn’t the act I had wanted to see anyway.

      • The Gossip Structure

        They were obviously going to heckle Dave more because of his trademark lines and his level of fame. so you can stop with that POV

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    • Durian

      Bullshit, I was near the front row and the people all aorund me were fking screaming a load of bullshit at him. It was really fucking annoying and I don’t blame him in the least. In fact I wanted to punch this one dude in the back of the head, couldn’t even hear half the things he was saying.

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    • The Gossip Structure

      Perfect. Comedians hate hecklers. all these noobie stand up comedy audience members that say “he could’ve handled it better” tell me how. it seems like you were all warned by him to settle down, even the events twitter sent out a tweet warning you that as a crowd you were being assholes and to quiet down. I praise him for doing that. idiots

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    • Tazer79

      I was at the Houston show, and people were yelling a few things, like “Where have you been” “You been hitting the weights” ect, and he was really cool and riffed off those a bit. But his material wasn’t there, and it was apparent. I feel OK about it, but not great.

    • RedScourge

      What I don’t understand is if the problem was the crowd, why didn’t the staff handle it?

      • Keepin It Real in Hartford

        Musta been scared of those little white drunk suburbanites. Hahahahaha

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    • Stunned in Hartford

      The crowd was excited to see Dave and they did settled down when he stopped to wait. But Dave refused to continue once he stopped. As any teacher knows, you wait until the kids are quiet, but then you start back up. Dave blew it, and he will again on this tour proving it was his attitude, not Hartfords that took down the show. Dave is lucky he had such an awesome reception after walking out 5 years ago. He is an unappreciative, unprofessional performer. I would be afraid to pay to see him again. I was there, I was sober, I’m a teacher and he was wrong. He needs to perform in Libraries where silence is expected. And how happy will he be when no one acts excited to see him? He may find out.

      • Keepin It Real in Hartford

        Must not have met up with Tyrone in time for the show. What a loser

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    • Sean

      Money well spent.
      Dave stood his ground and it just makes him a better artist.

    • chris

      comedy is an art , if you think this is about you paying him to perform you need to shut the fuck up and think about your life because you clearly have no sense of value. Selfish, fuck your money hes a human being not a puppet you cant just pull his strings and make him dance. You either respect dave as a professional and give him what he deserves or shut up and move along

    • amused

      Comedy and standup is a form of theater. Like any theater you need to go and watch and laugh. The only time you talk is if they start asking the crowd questions. They broke the social contract on this before he did and they got what the deserved.

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    • Keepin It Real in Hartford

      Dave might want to block out all the screaming on his Chicago video if he really wants people to believe Hartford was too loud. Dave is a liar. Keep it Real Dave. You flatlined in Hartford.

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