Stevie Wonder Wasn’t the Weirdest Part
I attended the ‘Untitled’ Chappelle documentary screening at the Hollywood Bowl. It’s unclear why this wasn’t the Netflix special.
About a month ago, a photographer I follow on Instagram posted a special code to buy tickets to an “Untitled Chappelle Event” at the Hollywood Bowl on October 7. With the pandemic not quite over and stir-craziness at an all-time high, the open-air venue and chance to do something exclusive seemed like a gift from the beforetimes.
But last week, there was a sort of sudden Netflix drop of the sixth Dave Chappelle special, “The Closer.” And so I literally commented on the guy’s IG: “THEN WHAT IS THE EVENT?”
As the days went on, and the special was released, and I sat through Dave’s storytelling and ranting on a fixation of now three different specials (trans women, and his feelings about them and their existence), I grew more and more annoyed. I’ve been a fan of Dave Chappelle since I saw Killin’ Them Softly, specifically the joke about Oscar the Grouch and how shitty everyone on Sesame Street treats him. I haven’t revisited that special in years, and I can still recite that entire act out in time with the cadence. I know it. It’s a profound and deeply hilarious moment that proved his genius in the pre-9/11 afterglow of the ’90s and I was always excited to discover his roles in movies before and after that.
Anyway, I planned to scalp the tickets and not go, but I made that decision on Thursday thinking the show was Friday night. It wasn’t. With just three-and-a-half hours to show time, I decided to go. I knew it wasn’t going to be a stand-up set, or the Netflix special, so I was honestly curious about what it actually was. Was he gonna come out as trans? Was he gonna do a DJ set? I live in L.A.; you never really know.
So as is customary for Chappelle events, they locked up our phones. I saw him at Radio City with Childish Gambino during his month of shows back in 2017, so I was familiar with the protocol. With some time to marinate, here’s what happened:
- Thundercat opened the “show” playing some beautiful songs on piano.
- A DJ (no disrespect, but I was waiting for a late friend to show up and…