Dave Chappelle Has Breakdown On Stage In Hartford

Dave Chappelle

UPDATE: We now have video of what happened, provided after the jump. The footage begins a few minutes into the set, presumably after the crowd had begun disrupting the performance.

ORIGINAL POST: Dave Chappelle has returned to stand up comedy, and yet, on the fourth night of this tour, he has reportedly had an on stage meltdown. Reports are in that Chappelle did a few minutes of comedy in various lengths, with some reports saying as much as ten minutes and others as few as three minutes. Overall, what’s certain is this: the crowd in Hartford, Connecticut was loud and cheering; Chappelle wanted this to stop, did a few minutes of comedy, and then when the crowd didn’t quiet down, he sat down on a stool, smoked a cigarette, and read a book until his time obligations were fulfilled.

Some fans are reporting that he told the crowd they sucked during the thirty or so minutes of sitting on a stool without doing comedy. First hand accounts suggest the crowd was just cheering to say they loved him and wanted his return. Others are saying the crowd in Hartford was unruly and got what they deserved. AbsolutePunk reports the following: “After about five minutes of trying to do his act per usual, repeated shouts of either praise or Chappelle’s Show quotes from the crowd prompted him to say that ‘you are wasting your money, I’m still getting paid.’ As the shouting continued, he stopped his act, sat on the stage, and began smoking, refusing to continue until it quieted down. The audience began to turn on him, and Chappelle began saying how bad the crowd was. After about twenty-five minutes of back-and-forth with the crowd, he began reading from a book aloud on the edge of the stage, and fans started to leave. His time ran out shortly thereafter, and he got up and left.

Regardless, given Chappelle’s absence from standup, this does not bode well for his return. We’ll update you if there is an official statement on what happened or if video surfaces from the event; currently, the festival MC reports Dave is OK. We also have been in touch with several show goers, who will perhaps give more clarification, a first hand account, or direct footage. Until then, the Laugh Button has a nice roundup of social media commenters.


Chappelle also asked the DJ to play “New Slaves” by Kanye West and walked off the stage at the end.

Dan Bogosian

I finished school with a music theory degree. Before I finished school, I was a janitor. You really should apologize to all the janitors you've ever had. You hurt them. Seriously. You did.

But, now that we've cleared that up and you called your high school janitor, know that I quit being a janitor to pursue writing about music. So here I am, and here you are, and hey how are you?
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  • James Perez

    That’s what happens when dumbass people tailgate a fucking show for hours getting blasted and think their on cloud nine when in actuality they are 2 minutes from getting their ass kicked. Yeah I was there and though I really wanted to hear his material after seeing how the crowd was even before he went on, they didn’t deserve nor were they ready for his brilliance. Why you think no one goes to Hartford unless its the Casinos for the most part. The state is whack as well as the people apparently. Make your money here then bounce!!!



  • Matthias Tyger Smith

    Dave Chapelle has brought me countless hours of joy and laughter. Seeing someone with so much raw charisma and talent on stage fall so low (through no fault of his own) is heart wrenching from both sides of the fence. I know how it feels to know there’s more to you being held back by standards and requirements out of your control, and I know what it looks like to see such things done from an outside perspective. Tragic.

  • ethan shipley

    Not the same old dave. very sad. Was there and the crowd was NORMAL. It was like watching his career die in front of our eyes. He sat there depressed and sulky smoking cigarettes for 25 of the 30min saying things about quitting and how we would pay to watch him read telephone books.

  • Olia Yelner

    I was there and it was BS. Out of 10,000 people in this semi-outdoor venue, a handful were yelling- but they were yelling positive things- that they love Dave and are glad that he’s back. So he totally flips out. He did a few minutes of jokes- people are saying three minutes because it’s what Dave said- and then sat down with cigarettes and a bottle of water. A bunch of people left and it became quiet but he did not continue with his set. He wasted the rest of the time by BSing with people in the front row. This isn’t a problem with Hartford because none of the other well-know comedians pulled that kind of nonsense. He’s an entertainer who makes a lot of money telling dirty jokes to drunk people- maybe he should be less of a diva and deal with the crowd, it’s a comedy show, not the opera. Then again, maybe it’s part of some mental health condition.

  • KTreez

    i’m from CT.. and i couldn’t agree more

  • MattyD929

    A comedy show actually is similar to an opera in the sense that you shouldn’t be yelling during the show. Even if you’re just cheering him on, there comes a point where you need to stop and let him talk. Just about all of the crowd noise at comedy shows should be laughter.

  • Olia Yelner

    So a handful of rude people who were yelling, but everyone else was punished. Dave got his money, the theater, which liquored everyone up at $7 a glass, got theirs, and I’m out $120 for two tickets, as well as seven hours of my life including sitting in traffic. That’s not what an entertainer does. A part of his job is dealing with the audience- keeping in mind that as he put it- he tells pussy jokes. Besides, it got much quieter after a whole bunch of people walker out when he first sat down. He could have done his set then, but he had no intention of continuing.

  • MattyD929

    Yeah that sucks you were one of the respectful fans and got your night ruined. From everything I’m hearing first-hand (including a friend who was in the 5th row) he let a handful of idiots up front ruin the whole show for the thousands of people there, that’s too bad.

  • Olia Yelner

    The weird thing is that he interacted with the people upfront. The lady whose book he plugged was one of the people in the front row.

  • Jamaal Speights

    well said

  • Dan Bogosian

    I’m from CT; the reason acts skip CT is nothing to do with “whack audiences” and everything to do with money and tour routing. That said, what did the crowd do to warrant this? Sincerely. I can’t find footage of when he threw in the towel.

  • Michael Wilk

    Rowdy audiences are one of the things that come with standup, but it seems that ever since his TV show first aired they haven’t been content to simply let Chapelle do his job. Chapelle seems particularly sensitive to disruptions of his performances, and that only feeds the trolls even more. So what we have here apparently is a situation in which a once-successful comedian basically can’t do his job because his own audience won’t let him. Maybe instead of standup, Chapelle could go back to being in movies for a while and focus on that. At least on a movie set, he doesn’t have to worry about this happening.

  • Angie Frissore

    No, rowdy crowds are not something that ‘comes with stand up comedy’. That is what is wrong with audience goers – that mentality.

  • JKxZ

    One time at a George Carlin show I saw something similar happen, but security dealt with the handful of people ruining it for everyone else.

    I’ve seen this happen with Lewis Black, and again security dealt with it.

    I’ve seen this happen with Stephen Lynch…. and again security dealt with it. However overtime this resulted in Stephen removing “Superhero” from his set.

    I get people want to interact with the comedian, but it does ruin it for everyone else. I’ve heckled, I’ve been that guy, but only at open mics when someone is really bombing and they need the death in the room to be extinguished. You don’t go to a stand up show with a well known comedian and act like an ass. The comedian has the right to stop the performance dead, because it is a performance. This isn’t 6 minutes, it’s 25-45 minutes and beyond. Have some respect for the work that has been put into creating that show. Have some respect for the comedian because its a god damn marathon/endurance trial to do a big set.

  • Bobby Roberts

    He needs to learn how to tell if the people are ‘laughing WITH him’ or ‘laughing AT him’. I feel like that is some sort of occurring theme in his breakdowns…also, he needs to deal with his past success of his TV show better. The show was great and people enjoyed it. It seems like he looks down on people for liking the show. I don’t get that part.

  • Roz

    I was there, in the 18th row from the stage. He looked drunk. He had no material prepared. The crowd was not disruptive at the onset, only into the set when he had nothing to say. Not one funny thing came out of his mouth.We left before the set was over.

  • haters gonna hate

    You know whats weird? I saw Louie CK in Hartford about 8 months ago. He was amazing. He actually had material, and the crowd loved it. So don’t give me some BS about CT not knowing how to enjoy a show. You pay money to see someone, you expect a performance out of them. Whatever Chappelle did is terrible. And I used to be a huge fan of his.

  • Ben

    Where are you from that you’re so proud of James? You must have been the only person at that show that wasn’t from Hartford, CT weren’t you? When there is a show in CT, less than half the crowd is from there. I worked at the Comcast I know. Have you lived in CT? You must have lived in Mystic, and Litchfield for monthes to be able to generalize an entire state based on going to a couple of casinos in an isolated corner and going to a disappointing comedy show. I don’t know where you think you’re from that puts you in a position to criticize, you certainly look the part of Kevin Federline taking a Glamour shot in front of a lake. Sounds like you were two minutes away from getting your ass kicked.

  • Kenneth Evan Powell III

    What meltdown? The audience was filled with a-holes and he decided not to fucking put up with their bullshit. Kramer was a meltdown. This is a comedian dealing with an unruly audience in his own way.

  • MrsKCarter

    All of you that talk about Dave being a diva this…bitch that…you don’t even know why he truly rebelled like that. The man went into exile. It is much deeper than you whining CT people who are the ones acting like the damn divas. The problem with this world is that they are quick to judge not knowing a damn thing. “The highest form of ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about.” -Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

  • Regular Jake Cook

    i’m gonna scream “i love you i’m glad you’re back” at you for half an hour while you’re at your job and see how fun it is for you.
    you don’t respect comedy at all

  • Olia Yelner

    1) It’s really pathetic that you’re trying to take this out on me. I sat quietly as my money and time were wasted.

    2) It wasn’t half an hour- it was several minutes before he gave up.

    3) I’ve been to lots of shows of all different sorts. People yell and do stuff- so what- it’s part of the job. That’s why he gets paid millions.

    4) All of the other comedians last night contended with much worse, and most of it was not adoration, and handled it with no incident.

    5) I’m having a rough day at the office, the clients are yelling at me- I don’t give up, tell them to fuck off, and go home.

  • Olia Yelner

    I have no doubt that he’s a genius, but like most geniuses, something is off. He didn’t “go into exile”- political dissidents go into exile. He bailed on his $50m contract just like he bailed on last night’s audience, just like he’s bailed on other audiences in the past.

  • Olia Yelner

    They really weren’t rowdy at all.

  • Angie Frissore

    I was responding to Michael….there’s this odd mentality where people think comics ‘appreciate heckling’ or that it’s acceptable, when it’s not at all. No comedian appreciates ‘rowdiness’. Also, when Dave was in Montreal earlier this summer, he had to deal with the same thing – people shouting out lines from his show, etc – essentially keeping him from being able to deliver his set.

  • Blue

    Says the self-righteous heckler.

  • Linda Correa-Ojeda

    I was upgraded to 5th row from the back for nothing… There was no heckling, he was simply unprepared. No one mentioned anything from his show.

  • Penny

    Poor Dave. I can’t imagine how horrible it must feel when your life’s dream turns into a messy nightmare with no clear resolution.

  • Penny

    Also, when I think “breakdown” I think irrationality, hysterics, anger… he more or less just got tired and didn’t want to play anymore. In show business especially you aren’t allowed to have days like this, it breaks all kinds of rules… I see more signs of breakdown in the folks who didn’t like what he did..

  • Shalove2

    Check the 10 or so you tube videos where you can hear the crowd. May be you had a little too much to drink and your perception was clouded.

  • Todd Breau

    I was there last night as well. It was strange because the first few acts were great, and then Concords were great as . Once Dave got on be did maybe ten minutes of material. The venue isn’t right for standup comedy. I saw Dave years ago and it was amazingly amazing. I’m bummed that I’m out 75 bucks.
    The crowd was shitty though, it was really hard to hear what he was saying at points, but it eventually just became a seriously uncomfortable situation to be In, so my girlfriend and I left about 5 minutes before be walked off, along with a sea of hundreds of other disappointed fans.


    I am the author Mack Mama that gave Dave the book he was reading from. Tales from an Original Bad Girl. (Another shameless plug) Here is my take: I was sitting directly in front of him, so close that, as he was sitting down having a smoke, I locked eyes with him and showed him my book. He gestured “For me?” I said “Yup, for you.” He heard me clearly, he than got up, and took the book from my hand. He continues to banter back and forth with me as you can hear in the video.

    Even in his attempt not to entertain and be funny, he clearly still had us cracking up. Look, the dude wanted to share why he left the game, and give us some funny commentary on his life and what he did in his absence, as he did in previous shows from the tour. The problem was that, the drunk, stoners wanted to hear from “Half baked” Dave Chappelle, not forty year old, returning from a self imposed sabbatical Chappelle.

    We all know that he is moody, finicky and clearly stuck in his ways. He meant it when he advised the audience to quiet the heckler next to us, by giving them a kidney shot.

    The bottom line is like it or not, the man demands his respect and won’t compromise. The 50 million dollar-kiss my ass exit, clearly proves that. If you are a true fan, like I am, meet me in NJ next week and catch his show. I am giddy with excitement, hoping that he delivers this time, but, drooling at the thought that he might say fuck off Mack Mama. No more plugs tonight. It’s nothing personal folks. I won’t be offended. If you love this guy’s comedic genius than roll with the good and bad. Simple. I am also starting a petition to have him on my blogtalkradio show. Follow me on twitter @MackMama and sign it. I promise you don’t want to miss it. I am the female Howard Stern. If I can get him on there it will be RAW and UNCUT! I went into more details about my perspective of the show on http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mackmama LISTEN and SHUT UP! please. muah!!

  • John McLachlan Jr.

    I actually find all of this pretty freaking hysterical and in line with his personality and comedy. I think it was genius… Still as witty and clever as ever. I just see this as him making comedy while explaining why he left his show and took a well deserved hiatus. Like if you approach me on the street and be like “I’m rich bitch”, you’re getting punched in the junk. I’ll entertain you on TV or at a performance, but shit I’m a human being, leave me the fuck alone.

  • leitskev

    Andy Kaufman?

  • Xternal critic

    I was at the pittaburgh show the next day….he absolutely ripped hartford apart. He had a full set one day later, so i am assuming thr crowd in ct was nust full of a holes

  • PG78co

    I think this is funny as hell! It would make a great movie….

  • Dizzle

    Game. Blouses. Connecticut.