Nearly a week after being heckled in Hartford, Connecticut—and subsequently quitting his act after 10 minutes—Dave Chappelle took to the stage last night in Chicago to voice his frustration at the crowd. His overarching message: "Fuck Hartford."
In audio of the event, obtained by TMZ and liable to be pulled at any minute due to copyright concerns, Chappelle told Chicago that he had been bothered on Thursday by "young, white alcoholics," who nearly drove him to pull a "reverse Kramer" and start yelling "cracker." If you listen to the audio, Chappelle is clearly kidding, exaggerating his anger to comedic effect, but you can tell Hartford did bother him: "That shit was like being at a fucking tiger show the night Sigfried and Roy got their throats bit out," he says, claiming the crowd probably felt satisfied that they got to see the allegedly unstable comic "freak out." (Note: I don't think he's unstable—at all—but his eight-year absence has certainly brought about those allegations.)
"I don't want anything bad to happen to the United States," Chappelle said, in the statement that'll probably lead off other headlines. "But if North Korea ever drops a nuclear bomb on this country, I swear to God I hope it lands in Hartford, Connecticut."
When we originally wrote about Hartford, I titled the heckling incident "When Being a Bro Goes Wrong." Based off tweets emitting from the Comcast Theatre, it seemed that the culprits were young, vocal drink-happy kids—or, people who would fit others' stereotype of a "bro." Chappelle more or less confirmed those suspicions, even before labeling them all "white." (And no, I don't think Dave is playing the "race card" to excuse a subpar performance. When Chappelle says he wanted to pull a "reverse Kramer, he's saying, I think, that he wanted to yell something awful and outrageous to get the hecklers' reaction, similar to how Michael Richards claimed he was looking to defuse the heckling "by being even more outrageous"—not make a racial statement.)
Which means this might be a good time to go over what everyone should do at a show:
Rule No. 1 of watching a show—no matter how thrilled you are to see a comic, or how funny you think you are after 15 beers—is that you Shut. The. Fuck. Up. Comedians despise hecklers. They feel comfortable saying the worst imaginable things to them, and they never welcome a confrontation that throws off their set.
Last night, if the tweets from the event are to believed, "frat bros" were the main heckling culprits. This is somewhat understandable: Typically young guys are the people with enough liquid courage to yell during a show, and part of being a "bro" is that you feel like you're the life, or a life, of the party. You drink, you call attention to yourself, you have fun.
But that behavior just doesn't translate to comedy. It fucks up comics, it fucked up Chappelle, and it may drive one of the world's greatest comedians to go back underground after this tour is said and done. That's wrong.
Just like you know you don't have to be a "young, white alcoholic" to be a bro, you should also not ruin others' enjoyment at comedy shows. And nothing is worth driving our favorite comedian underground again.