Now that the mere sight of Dave Chappelle holding a microphone is no longer enough to generate excitement, the un-retired comedian must resort to more flamboyant tactics to get the public’s attention. And he picked a pretty good one over the weekend, surprising fans of Chris Rock’s Total Blackout Tour at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans. According to Complex, the show started as planned with openers Jeff Ross and Eric Andre, before Chappelle walked out onto the stage and told the “stunned” audience, “Tonight, you are all part of a social experiment. Stranger things have happened in New Orleans.”
The “social experiment” turned out to be a full 90 minutes of Chappelle and Rock cracking each other up on stage. They did so secure in the knowledge that nothing they said would end up on YouTube, as audience members were swiped with metal detectors and their phones placed into locked pouches before the show. Rock even teased the audience about their inability to take photos during the set, reportedly quipping, “Oh, wish you had your phones, right?” as he welcomed Chappelle to the stage.
Keith Spera of the New Orleans Advocate was able to give a rough outline of the content of the set, noting that the two riffed on Donald Trump and Michael Jackson’s favorite drugs before Chappelle invited Rock to sit on a stool at center stage and “talk it out” once the topic of his divorce—a source of much of Rock’s recent material—came up. That part of the show reportedly got rather heavy, with Rock admitting to cheating on his wife on previous tours and to crying during the custody battle over his teenage children. It all ended on a humorous note, though, as Chappelle said, “the only thing better [than this] would be if Eddie Murphy lowered from the rafters.”