This one is proof that it can happen to anyone no matter how respected or popular. Dave Chappelle has gone down as one of the greats after everything that he accomplished and there are only a select few of his peers that can claim to have even come close to making the same impact he did. He penetrated pop culture like a hot knife through butter with “Chappelle’s Show” and truly solidified a legendary status in not only the comedy genre but in the entertainment business, period.
Everyone who knows Chappelle knows the story — Chappelle became consumed with guilt about poisoning minds with his racial satire in “Chappelle’s Show” and after forgoing a ridiculously lucrative deal ($50 million) for a third season, he left millions and millions of dollars on the table to retreat to Africa (away from the pressure-ridden existence of fame). After his long hiatus, Chappelle returned — sort of anyway, and he has become a little bit of a ghost in the standup scene — doing surprise appearances and performing only once in a while at the most.
In 2013, Chappelle was slated to play a “Funny or Die Oddball Comedy Tour” in Hartford, Conn. However, he never would get a chance to do his act that night.
It may be worth noting the irony of the fact the Dave Chappelle, who grew up in Washington D.C., a city possessing some of the worst and most dangerous neighborhoods in America, lost it during a show in yuppie-Connecticut with a predominately Caucasian crowd in the midst of a good, mean drunk. Couple that with the history (the fact that Chappelle backed out of his deal for a third season of “Chappelle’s Show” because of the guilt from his racial parodies… and suddenly the Connecticut meltdown begins to make a little bit of sense).
According to reports, the crowd was so loud and out of hand that Chappelle stopped in the middle of his set and began to smoke a cigarette. Things got even more bizarre when Chapelle proceeded to read passages from an audience member’s book until his 25 minutes ran out. After that, he then simply walked off stage.
Chappelle claimed he wasn’t the problem, but it was that he couldn’t deal with a room full of young, white alcoholics. He even went as far as to call them “suburban torturers” in an interview conducted shortly after the incident.
Fortunately for Chappelle, he has a status in pop culture that is practically unbreakable so this honestly wasn’t really that big of a deal when it comes to the big picture. He won’t be remembered as the guy who couldn’t keep it together in Connecticut; he will always be Dave Chappelle: the comic genius.
“I wanted to, like, pull a reverse Kramer and call ’em all crackers or something crazy like that.”
Watch the video of his performance below.