Dave Chappelle’s recent career moves have all been based around being withholding, a passive-aggressive, somewhat-unhealthy relationship with his fans that includes ditching his beloved Comedy Central show, denying any and all rumors of a TV comeback, and refusing to let anyone know when and where he’ll be doing stand-up comedy again. This strange demand for privacy even in his most public moments extends to his stringent policy against people taping those appearances to share with others—something Chappelle apparently hates so much, if he catches you doing it he’ll even purposefully bomb a set like the one at this weekend’s Summer Groove charity event in Miami.
According to numerous sources, Chappelle stopped his show after telling a single opening joke to complain about people filming him from the front row. And according to an eyewitness account by CNN reporter Roland S. Martin, he then proceeded to spend the next 45 minutes just sort of standing around awkwardly—“sighing audibly” and occasionally checking his text messages—as the audience grew restless and began booing him. Here is Martin’s chronological report on Twitter (as compiled by Vulture):
This Dave Chappelle set is bizarre. He's spent more time going back & forth with one audience member, & pretty much stopped telling jokes
One woman just yelled, "Can you tell a joke so we can enjoy ourselves!" He got texted four times during his show and actually checked them
I'm just not understanding what threw him off. He's complained about folks videotaping his set, yelling out loud. I don't get it
"This crowd is serious as hell," he says. Dave, we're trying to figure out what we've listened to for the last 25 minutes.
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
"As shitty as the show is, I can't wait to explain this on CNN." Dave Chappelle complaining about a guy taping his whole show
Then Dave started talking to me, asking if I was putting this on CNN. Yes, from the stage! He's been on stage 46 minutes & told one joke.
He kept saying "I respect your work." And then he said, He'll send me a tape of his better comedy work. This is a trip!
Below is some video of the end of the set—filmed by an audience member, which is exactly what Chappelle was pissed about.
Fortunately, Chappelle returned for the second night of the event and apologized for his “bad attitude,” reportedly making fun of himself during his performance—though only sticking around for about 10 minutes this time. No video of that set has surfaced, obviously.