Hollywood Bowl - Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021
Dave Chappelle premiered his new documentary entitled “Untitled” at the Hollywood Bowl on Thursday, October 7. No title. No description. Just Dave, a documentary, and some of his friends. Upon arrival, we were met with heavy traffic because clearly, I wasn’t the only one who blindly trusts anything with Dave Chappelle’s name attached to it. Once we made it to our seats, we had missed over thirty minutes of a new Dave Chappelle documentary. Sucks, but we made it.
As a lover of documentaries, I was happy to pick up where we came in and see where we were going. Now they did lock up our phones when we entered, so I’m not here to be a snitch. We’ll keep things top line.
The documentary chronicled Chappelle’s 2020 summer in Yellow Springs, Ohio. As we know Chappelle would host outdoor comedy shows on his farmland throughout the summer. The film follows Chappelle as he hosted comedy shows from his Yellow Springs farm. If you remember Chappelle’s first documentary, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, this film had a similar vibe: Dave Chappelle setting out to bring the community together in a way only Dave Chappelle can. The event would come to be knowns as Dave Chappelle’s “Summer Camp,” coined after the celebrity-packed show on the Fourth of July. Chappelle’s Summer Camp was another step in solidifying his place at the GOAT of comedy. Not by just being great at his craft but by mentoring and giving space for the stand-up comedy community to keep working during a very difficult time. The Yellow Springs farm became a space of healing laughter for many, but for some, it was a nuisance. While loved by most Chappelle faced a few obstacles in his small-town community. The new attraction caused a surge in tourism, noise, and activity in this small “hippie town” that some were not comfortable with. One thing we know from those close to Chappelle is that Chappelle loves to create memories. Summer 2020 was one to remember and for many Chappelle was able to infuse smiles and laughter into a summer of sadness, loss, and confusion.
After the movie, the block party I was waiting for started. Dave Chappelle came out to soak in all of the love coming from every edge of the Hollywood Bowl. An over pouring of love that is particularly notable amidst the recent call for his cancellation triggered by his latest Netflix special, The Closer. Chappelle made sure to share his gratefulness for our love and our presence in real life.
“If this is what canceled feels like, I love it.”- Dave Chappelle
He proceeded to not talk about the film but to emphasize the importance of us being here in real life. The importance of us supporting in real life and opposed to those who spend their time causing an uproar on the internet.
"F*** Twitter. This is real life. - Dave Chappelle
After his warm speech, he brought out the legendary, excuse me, “The Magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff” to get the music going. As DJ Jazzy Jeff got us out of our seats Chappelle then brought out another unexpected legendary surprise, Steve Wonder! He walked Stevie out to center stage and the whole place roared in applause. Stevie took the mic, not to sing, but to share a message about how his disappointment in cancel culture. He shared how comedians have been cracking jokes about his blindness for years and he’s never called to cancel anyone.
“What we need to cancel is hate. What we need to cancel is fear because we have to have love, and we should never cancel that. I want us to cancel the idea of feeling that we don’t want anyone to laugh because if we don’t laugh, we cry. And I don’t believe that was God’s intention — ever.” - Stevie Wonder
After Steve delivered his message he was followed by Talib Kweli, Snoop Dogg, Lizzo (who served as Snoop’s hype woman and backup dancer), Nas, then many more friends including Donnell Rawlins and Tiffany Haddish took the stage to share in the love and celebration. The show ended with a beautiful firework show and a sing-a-long of 80’s jams lead by Chappelle. Like midwestern 80’s jams, very unexpected. Like Jon Hamm jumping around on stage singing Journey unexpected.
Overall it was truly a great time. My biggest takeaway was to remember not to get so wrapped up in the internet that you forget to have a positive impact in real life. Here is the greatest comedian to ever do it getting canceled people on the internet, meanwhile I am watching a documentary about how many lives he touched during one of the hardest and saddest times of our collective history. If we could all take time to focus on having a positive impact on the people closest to us and a little less time trying to end the careers of people we disagree with then maybe we could spread a little more healing and a little less hurting.
“Do something nice for someone who looks nothing like you. We have to trust one another.” - Dave Chappelle