Amidst an ever-present haze of cigarette smoke, the acclaimed comedian Dave Chappelle sifted through what seemed to be several days’ worth of material during his hour-long show at the Tivoli Theater.
The crowd first sat through a cavalcade of admittedly humorous opening acts, including Donnell Rawlings, formerly of The Wire fame. However, there was only one man the packed theater was there to see, and after an hour of those mini-shows, the star appeared on stage.
Even though almost every phone was detained inside locked pouches, it is doubtful a single audience member would have thought to look at a screen during Chappelle’s show. He continuously strutted around the stage as he dazzled the audience, stopping only to light a new cigarette or to take a drink.
Without referring to notes, Chappelle told story after story, weaving in and out and around topics like transgender rights, Kanye West, an impending Civil War, orders of protection, and many others.
Chappelle would consistently bring his jokes back to one of his previous topics, often 15 or more minutes after they had begun. As a result, the comedian’s jokes felt less like a series of unrelated jests and more akin to a single story with multiple strands.
The star comedian did not shy away from politics, making several jokes at the expense of President Donald Trump and notable Democrat Bernie Sanders. While a few boos could be heard during those jokes, they were drowned out by applause or laughter.
Bathed in a red light coming from the stage and illuminated by a spotlight coming from the top balcony, Chappelle ended his show by light-heartedly pleading with the audience to treat their fellow man well. After this final soliloquy, the entire theater rose to their feet and gave the comedian a standing ovation.
Dave Chappelle has been in the news for his recently released Netflix special, titled “Sticks and Stones.” The show has been divisive amongst viewers, being panned as offensive and low-effort by critics. Meanwhile, Chappelle’s latest television offering has been universally beloved by audiences, and possesses a 99 percent audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Regardless of what critics think of Chappelle’s new brand of comedy, it was clear Chattanooga thoroughly enjoyed what he had to offer. Immediately concluding the 7:00 show, Chappelle performed a 10:00 show, with people pushing to get into their seats almost immediately after the last audience vacated them.