BY MATT JACOB
APRIL 28, 2017
If there’s one thing comedy fans have learned about Dave Chappelle over the years, it’s that the funnyman does things his way. Or he doesn’t do them at all. Take, for example, Chappelle’s Show, the popular, boundary-pushing Comedy Central program that Chappelle abruptly walked away from during production of the third season—leaving behind a reported $50 million contract.
Then there was his subsequent disappearance from the public eye—including a mysterious exodus to South Africa—followed by a stretch in which he did only a handful of stand-up and television appearances for more than five years. Chappelle even marches to his own beat when it comes to his style of comedy, usually eschewing the rapid-fire, set up-punchline delivery preferred by most stand-ups in favor of a storytelling approach that leaves audiences thinking as much as laughing.
Given his reluctance to conform to norms, it should come as no surprise that Chappelle has issued an edict to those purchasing tickets for his current tour—an edict that’s as unconventional as anything he’s done in his career: No cell phones allowed.
That’s right: In an era when creative artists have come to accept (often begrudgingly) that their performances will be uploaded to YouTube long before the encore, Chappelle is dialing back the clock to a time when the only device audiences could use to capture a show was their memory. So if you plan on catching Chappelle on May 5 in Vegas, leave your cell phone in your room or car, or prepare to put it in a locked pouch until the show is over. Sure, the no-cell phone policy is a tad inconvenient, but there is a bright side: Instead of being distracted by mobile devices, fans will be fully engaged in the show. And if Chappelle’s stint hosting Saturday Night Live late last year and two recent Netflix specials are any indication, those fans will likely depart the arena grateful that the iconic comedian forced them off the grid for a couple of hours.
Mandalay Bay, 9 p.m. May 5, starting at $59 plus fee. 702.632.7777