7:29 PM EDT, August 31, 2013
Hartford, you’re a tough crowd.
On Thursday night, comedian Dave Chappelle staged a strange protest during his routine for the Funny or Die Oddball Comedy Tour at the Comcast Theatre in Hartford. The audience wouldn’t quiet down enough for his liking. After a couple of jokes, he stopped doing his act and ran the clock out onstage by reading part of a book aloud, smoking and insulting the fans until his contractual 25 minutes were up.
OK, the crowd was a bit rowdy. But Mr. Chappelle is also famously thin-skinned: He abruptly quit his TV show in 2005, and he’s walked off other stages.
Too bad, because he’s enormously talented. He was even funny during Thursday’s pout, telling the crowd, “You guys have totally ruined my chances for running for Congress or something" and “When my three minutes is up, my ass is gone. I’m going straight to the bank and doing night deposit.”
We hope Hartford doesn't go down in history as Chappelle's last stand-up. If it's any consolation, he is not the first to be treated rudely by this state's sometimes bush-league audiences. Memorably, Rickie Lee Jones once yelled at the bar crowd at Toad’s Place in New Haven to quiet down during her performance. “After a few walk-offs and returns, she screamed to the guys in the back of the bar to stop playing pool," wrote The Courant's Frank Rizzo. "But there is no pool table at Toad’s.”
Mr. Chappelle’s show will go on, we hope, and even come back to Hartford. If you can make it here, you'll make it anywhere.
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