Just after 10pm last night at the Austin360 Amphitheater, Dave Chappelle's shadow appeared behind a white curtain and fourteen thousand fans rose to give him a 'welcome back' standing ovation. His grand return has been greatly anticipated since he walked away from the 'Chappelle's Show' and a 50 million dollar contact eight years ago in 2005. Now having just turned forty and ready to take on the big stage again, Dave Chappelle is headlining the 15-city Funny of Die Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Fesitval tour. In the last few years, he has tiptoed back into the spotlight slowly, appearing first in small club performances and theaters before embarking on this mega venue endeavor.
Funny of Die Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival began at 7pm with a great line up of comedians. Taking the stage in turn were Jeff Ross, Al Madrigal, Kristen Schaal, Hannibal Buress, Demetri Martin, and Flight of the Conchords. Each set was approximately 15 minutes, with the exception of Flight of the Conchords and Dave Chappelle being just under an hour. Although Austin360 Amphitheater's outdoor venue is not a typical setting for comedy acts, all in attendance were genuinely thrilled to be present for not only a great line up of artists, but Chappelle's return into the spotlight. The two giant screens on both sides of the Amphitheater stage allowed for even those in the far back grassy general admission section to see and enjoy the show. Since the venue's very first concert back in April, Funny of Die Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival has so far drawn the biggest crowd yet.
Chappelle took only a brief second to absorb his standing ovation before settling the crowd down, lighting up his American Spirit, and grabbing a towel to wipe the sweat off his head and face. In the first few minutes, he noticed a young 12-year-old boy in the front row and said 'hey little fella, thanks for taking a break from jerking off and joining the rest of us,' and then 'I have terrible news for the audience,... 'I don’t have any material.' Although he was kidding and clearly did, fans didn't care, they were just glad to have him back. He rambled on about his life, the loss of his show, his marriage, going crazy, dealing with fame and money, and the pressures of being a celebrity and public persona. He chained-smoked throughout his set and seemed genuinely grateful to be back, declaring 'I missed you guys more than you missed me.'
Security was extremely tight and both photo and videotaping was strictly prohibited and enforced. Professional photography was limited to the first 2 minutes of his set and heckling was clearly not going to be tolerated. Early on, security looked ready to bounce a heckler in the front row, but fortunately for the young man, Chappelle realized that there was no ill intent and he called off the bouncers, saying 'I need his strength, he’s inspiring me.'
Go to Funny or Die's website for more information regarding upcoming shows near you.
Upcoming Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival Upcoming Shows:
Aug 25 Dallas, TX
Aug 29 Hartford, CT
Aug 30 Pittsburgh, PA
Aug 31 Tinley Park, IL
Sep 01 Detroit, MI
Sep 06 Camden, NJ
Sep 07 Holmdel, NJ
Sep 08 Mansfield, MA
Sep 13 Denver, CO
Sep 15 Irvine, CA
Sep 20 Mountain View, CA Buy
Sep 21 Las Vegas, NV Buy
Sep 22 Phoenix, AZ Buy
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