VIDEO: Dave Chappelle walks off stage in middle of Connecticut performance after enduring abusive crowd

Comedian David Chappelle abandoned his act in Hartford Connecticut Wednesday night, spending most of his contractually-obligated 25 minutes chatting and smoking cigarettes — ultimately walking offstage in response to jeers and abusive comments from the audience.

According to verified accounts, Chappelle was only on stage for a few minutes before he became frustrated with the crowd, asking them to keep quiet. He launched into a few more stories over jeers from the crowd, eventually saying, “I only have three minutes left. And when my three minutes is up, my ass is gone. I’m going straight the bank and doing night deposit.”

He then walked off the stage.

That’s where the differing versions of what happened come in. From the low quality videos that have surfaced on Youtube, audience members can clearly be heard yelling at him while he tells a story about Richard Pryor. The Youtube user who uploaded one of the videos labels the performance a “meltdown,” but others believe that it was the audience who was the problem.

Lesli-Ann Lewis attended the infamous performance and wrote about it in Ebony Magazine:

Being in that crowd, a sea of drunk White male faces and seeing Chappelle sit there and be jeered at made me uncomfortable. Heckling isn’t uncommon for comedians but often when a comedian as famous as Chappelle puts their foot down, it is usually respected.

While the racial makeup of the crowd was incidental, the way they treated Chappelle is not. It speaks to a long complicated history: the relationship between the White audience and the Black entertainer. This is a relationship you can easily trace to early minstrel shows, to archetypes of Blacks that still define the roles we’re offered today. We have seen more Black comedians bow to racist tropes, demean themselves—albeit unintentionally—for White audiences.

Watch Chappelle’s performance in the video below.  Part 1 and part 2 of a longer version is available as well.

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  1. The racist hate brigade from the Republican/Tea Party fringe loonies are out in force. What a shame they have dragged our country down in shame due to their warped and idiotic ideology.

    • What the hell are you talking about? The GOP/Tea Party went to a Dave C. show? It’s Fing CONNECTICUT! Democratic up and down the state. Trying to blame an actual political party for a comedian with a long history of walking off is awfully desperate and distorted.

  2. Pingback: VIDEO: Dave Chappelle walks off stage in middle of Connecticut performance after enduring… | ceci n'est pas une blog

  3. Video isn’t long enough to tell what happened, so why bother posting it? WHY would lots of people (white or black) spend hard earned money to BUY TICKETS to a show and then jeer at the act? I really don’t “get” this whole thing.

    Weird.

    • For the same reason people pay a babysitter, buy movie tickets and popcorn, and then spend the entire movie talking as if they were in their own living room — which they could have done for free.

      They think they’re entitled to behave like that just because they’ve spent money.

  4. Why bother going to a place like Hartford Connecticut and play before an ignorant all white audience in the first place. I’m glad he walked off.

  5. So….What happened with Michael Richards is okay? He paid for it because he actually got mad, said some racial shit but it’s okay because his heckler was black and hes white. I love dave, hes great, what those douchebags did was terrible but do us all a favor? don’t specifically pin it on white drunk guys. All drunk guys are douches. I’m so sick of people crying racism every chance they get. I work in a black area of town, get called “cracka” by every drunk and angry customer. I don’t cry racism. Dave, I’m sorry you got heckled, you did the right thing but these idiots who cry racism should stfu and get a new hobby.

    • It’s not the same and you know it. It’s quite different to say something a bit racist than it is to be heckled by racists. Stop using that tired old crap to justify racism.

    • Sorry, Justin, but there are no derogatory slurs against white people. You’re going to have to understand the difference between being called a “cracker” and other slurs as used against People of Color. Think for a second what being called a “cracker” means, or any other “slur” against a white person. Does it mean lazy? Inferior? Thuggish? Or does it just mean white? Now think for a second what it means if you were a Person of Color and someone used a slur against you. The slur isn’t just an attack on your ethnicity, a simple highlight of what group you’re put into but instead it’s an insult containing all the stereotypes associated with your ethnicity. It’s an insult that underscores the point that you’re not the norm, that you don’t belong to the group that is considered the ideal standard and the big point that you are less than.

      • “Reality Check” You’re pretty ignorant to think that there aren’t derogatory racial slurs towards the white community…. Just saying, nobody ever use Oakey, or White Trash where you live? Seriously… Shut your mouth.

  6. I have seen and read about this. This is NOT about race. Yes, the audience was full of juiced-up assholes but it has nothing to do with race. Ever been to Def Comedy Jam (or whatever the fuck it is called)? Yeah, now THERE’S an audience that knows about self control! Dave Chappelle needs to get a thicker skin and realize that he is in a business where heckling and denigration is commonplace — it is part of a comedy world. If you cannot handle it, you do not make your situation any better by insulting the entire audience as a whole. Learn to do with hecklers and fucktards or get off the stage. He ran from this business in the past, at the height of his career, and now he wants to get paid for doing stand-up after hiding for years. What did you expect these people to wanna hear from you, Dave? You are right, you are not Rick James… just an ungrateful bitch.

  7. The writer makes it seem as if the whole crowd is doing the jeering. I do not see it that way and to try and make a racial black white incident does not make since.I do NOT believe that the majority of the white young men spent their money just to heckle Dave Chapelle because he is BLACK! But of course that is not the writers agenda she writes for a black owned magazine so she has to add the white people treating the black people poorly type of journalism did she ever hear the other audience members laughing were they just the black people laughing and applouding.THINK NOT! Dave Chapelle is known for wild crazy comedy and the heckling comes with his job has happened to every comedian when you give a SUBPAR PERFORMANCE!
    Just tell the TRUTH Ms.Leslie-Ann Lewis and quit race baiting!

  8. It’s up to the individual comedian whether to leave the stage or what but if you haven’t been the victim of continued racial discrimination, then you don’t have the right to push your personal feelings on anyone else. Telling the truth about racial imbalance is far from your convenient;y coined “race-baiting” garbage.

    • I have seen the video and it was just common heckling (and had NOTHING to do with race). Chappelle needs to get thicker skin and stop being an idiot. What he did was unprofessional. I hope the club sues him and everyone in the audience demand their money back. Until Chappelle apologizes, no one should give him any money.

  9. All Lesli-Ann Lewis and people like herself do, is fuel racial problems in the US. It doesn’t matter if the hecklers were white, black, rainbow, whatever, the fact is they were being abusive toward Dave. Why does she have to interject any color? Because it sells magazines. The media is destroying what good we have between racial equality and getting along with each other, just like it always has and she is a prime example of being the problem instead of using her pen to help the problem. Ms. Lewis should be ashamed and so should Ebony magazine for printing that racially slanted article. What she said was almost spit out your drink laughable. There are SO MANY black entertainers in the comedy world who can go to some of the most ‘so called’ racist cities still left in america and still get respect when they’re doing a show. If she would get out of places like Connecticut and New York and come down south, she would see there is more respect for black and comedians of all races. Go to Atlanta,Tampa,Charlotte and you’ll see what the real world is like with race. Seems things are better in the “racist states” than they are up north. Dave blew his career and he knows it. Taking up for him is a waste of time. He says he “felt like a prostitute every day when he came to work”. Ha Ha Ha…You’re in show business man. You’ve been a whore since you started. He finally started getting paid for it and all his work and he just couldn’t handle the fact the he was contractually obligated to keep up a pace. He imploded. He’s human. I think we all forget, entertainers are human beings and they should be treated as such. As for Ms. Lewis and Ebony magazine, how bout instead of pushing us back 30 years with every article, how about try and write positive articles about the good things that white, black, hispanic, and other races do together. I know what that is, do you?

  10. I went to a Gabriel Eglasious (sp) concert in Indianapolis 2 years ago I think it was and left half way through because of the heckling. Asshole white people go to these things ONLY to cause an issue and make waves. I did wait for those “people” to come out and followed them……..use your imagination………

  11. I was a standup in New Orleans for five years and have endured hecklers. Usually when I yelled “shut-up” like Sister Mary Elephant, it quieted down. If that didn’t work, I’d tell them, “Okay, y’all come up here and do this.” No one would ever want THAT. The nastiest people I ever experienced were in the front row while I and about ten other comedians were competing in a standup contest. It turned out to be friends and relatives of one of the contestants. They were trying to get the others to freak out and slip up. I told him about it years later, and he was appalled.

  12. I’m a performer and have toured extensively throughout the country, especially the Northeast, and I can say without a doubt that Connecticut audiences are the worst. There seems to be this pervasive attitude that “we are paying money, so you have to do what we want. And the wealthier they are, the worse they behave. Art means nothing. Hartford is a soulless shithole anyway, so fuck ‘em. Way to go Dave.

  13. I would have sat on stage and “ripped a nasty hole” in those white folks face with all measure of calmness. Talked about all the white pussy I done fucked that always pisses white men off. Yeah, if they wanted to start a battle, step into the light I am ready already….Talked about their skin, how it wrinkles at 25, read those white men with their small pricks that hide behind their nuts, and the list of insults this bitch would have volleyed would have filled my entire contractually agreed time on stage. Then as I exited the stage as Dave so eloquently state inform those haters that I was “on the way to the bank to make a night deposit” of their money.

  14. I just don’t understand what happened here. I have always thought of Dave Chappelle as a funny guy and i can’t tell from this video what the problem was that caused all the jeering.

    That said, I don’t blame him for walking off the stage. He can’t be expected to perform under this kind of hostile reaction.

  15. This would not have happened to Paul Mooney. You can’t derive respect out of buffoonish coonery! He disappeared for over a year–I’m thinking–realizing this; but on this disastrous comeback, I’m left wondering if he learned anything at all–one, of which is: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!!!!