Funnyman Dave Chappelle Riffed For Almost Two Hours at The House of Blues on Monday Night.
Dave Chappelle is nothing if not quirky.
But, revered a comedian as he is, he's afforded such traits.
Perfect example: No one batted an eyelash when the news broke late on Sunday saying that Dave Chappelle would be performing a surprise Monday night concert in Dallas. People just went right ahead and bought their tickets. Some even spent hundreds; it was just the going rate for a single ticket to the show on the secondary ticket market after the House of Blues officially sold out the performance early Monday morning.
Much to his credit, though, Chappelle gave people plenty in return for their support. For an hour and 40 minutes, the comedian entertained a packed House of Blues on Monday, riffing on everything from male rape and gay terrorism to time travel and interracial marriages.
It was a loose performance, as perhaps should have been expected from a performer who has only sporadically stepped onto stages in recent memory. Between jokes, the comedian took long drags on the cigarettes he chain-smoked throughout his set. And, more than a few times, he got completely sidetracked from his talking points only to recall them and return to them later.
But the performance hardly disappointed. For whenever Chappelle indeed spoke on Monday night, his audience in turn roared.
It was a Dallas-centric offering, too — Chappelle even mocked himself for relying on too many Texas stereotypes at one point early on his set. And, to be sure, he started with one right off the bat, openly wondering “Who did shoot J.R.?” He mentioned the new Dallas on TNT, too, joking that there would be a Mexican in the cast this time around (which, oddly enough, was part of the plot of the rebooted series' pilot episode) and, of course, he noted that everything is, in fact, larger in Texas — “especially titties,” he said, laughing to himself as he would throughout the night.
He was largely informal on stage, ready to roll with the punches. He shook off his jokes that failed, mentioning that he was simply trying some new things out, and noted, at one point, that he was desperate for new material.
He said he'd been in town for a couple of days, mentioning during a joke about his interactions with fans that are bullies that he'd spent Saturday night hanging out at the W hotel, dealing with one particularly pushy (in the literal sense) and gay-bashing fan.
No local spot earned more love from Chappelle than Uptown pizza restaurant-meets-nightclub Sfuzzi, though. Repeatedly, Chappelle dropped the venue's name, explaining that he was being paid $300 in pizza for each mention. Eventually, he counted that his total had reached $2,800 (his math started faltering after he'd reached $2,400).
Area breastaurant Twin Peaks got some love, too. Toward the end of the set, as crowd members began shouting out topics for Chappelle to riff on, a group of 15 girls claiming to be Twin Peaks calendar models caught his attention. Chappelle mocked them for not knowing how many months there were in a year, called out the model from his birthday month (August) and then moved on to another fan shout.
Chappelle especially thrived in this capacity.
A shouted mention of the Tupac hologram appearance at Coachella spurred an especially inspired riff, in which Chappelle described being at the show with his family, awkwardly listening to Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre rap about “gangster shit” in front of his kids. He then mocked Coachella as a whole, laughing at the notion that, even if Dr. Dre brought out the devil himself, the crowd at Coachella would go wild.
Next, he impersonated the devil rapping and the Coachella crowd going bonkers and not caring.
“He played all his hits, too,” Chappelle said with a laugh. “'Do It,' 'Fuck It,' and 'Do It Anyway.'”
Chappelle was also visibly amused when he asked what people in Dallas do, and a crowd member near the front said, “brunch.”
“I respect that answer,” Chappelle said, “'cause it's honest.”
He laughed, too, when a crowd member suggested he film a Half-Baked Part II film.
“When you see that,” he said, “make no mistake about it. I've run out of money.”
That much, it seems, can wait a few years. As Chappelle showed for almost two hours on this night, even when he's rusty and unrehearsed, he remains at the top of the comedy game.
Posted signs throughout venue strictly stated that no pictures, videos, tweets or texts were to be taken or sent during the show, though, so you'll just have to take our word on that.
Take our word here, too: Opening act Paul Varghese had a fine showing with his 20-minute opening set, warming up the eager audience brilliantly with his jokes about Chic-Fil-A and being arrested by a motorcycle cop. Not bad considering that the local comedian was on tour in New Mexico this morning when he got the call asking him to fly back and play this show.