It appears Dave Chappelle fans can finally erase the comedian’s highly-publicized underwhelming performance during last year’s Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival from their memories with the funny man’s recent string of Radio City Music Hall performances.
Last night Chappelle graced the iconic New York City stage as part of his 10-show engagement, which marks his first time performing his own show at Radio City, and first time in over 10 years that he has taken the stage in the Big Apple for a headlining gig.
And as expected, the 40-year-old opened his highly anticipated 45-minute set addressing his nearly decade-long hiatus since exiting Comedy Central’s “The Chappelle Show” months after signing a $50 million deal for its third and fourth seasons.
“I gotta tell you the truth, people been asking me this whole time, like all week, 'Where have you been? What have you been doing?' Uh, the short answer is, nothing,” he admitted to those in attendance. “A f**king phenomenal decade of just goofing around ... hell of a thing to quit a show like that.”
“It’s like jumping out of a moving car, I really f**ked up on that one. What I needed was a strategy ... but it’s ok. The hard thing is getting back into comedy. It’s been a tough comeback. It’s real hard to think of s*** to talk about.”
Chappelle covered an array of current events ranging from the Donald Sterling controversy to LGBT rights. He also shared the stage with New York-native rapper Nas, who capped the evening with a special performance celebrating the 20th anniversary of his classic debut album, “Illmatic.”
Backed by a 40-piece orchestra, which he dubbed “The Dave Chappelle Orchestra,” the rapper and Hennessy brand ambassador performed an abbreviated “Illmatic” set list reminiscent of his Kennedy Center performance earlier this year. He noted his relentless pursuit to "never stop. never settle" throughout his career in his address to the crowd before jumping straight into a medley of his classics.
And before he gracefully ripped through notable hits including “Made You Look,” “Hate Me Now” and “If I Ruled The World,” the Nas thanked Chappelle for inviting him to be a part of the comedian’s comeback tour.
“Shout out to the most incredible comedian in the world, Dave Chappelle! Thanks Dave, for making me a part of history with you, bro.”
After selling out five consecutive comedy shows, Chappelle has added additional shows this week through June 27, along with musical guests The Roots, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, Janelle Monáe and DJ Premier, according to Radio City Music Hall's site.
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