It's hard to believe the star of Comedy Central's second highest-rated show would get such treatment. And this year he didn't. After the hilarious Greer Barnes opened the 11 p.m. show, Chappelle appeared for an hour-long set.
The 30-year-old D.C. native never acknowledged his host city. (Perhaps because, according to his publicist, the purpose of the tour was to practice material for a Showtime special airing in early September). Chappelle did do a bit on the D.C.-area sniper. As the first black serial killer, he quipped, the sniper broke all stereotypes. "I was happy to be racially profiling white people for a change," he said.
Unlike his sketch comedy show, which can belabor his unique ideas, Chappelle's standup is a better avenue for his humor. He touched on many of the topics he exploits in his show: crackheads, reefer, race and sex. While most of his jokes are rooted in the differences between whites and blacks, his humor is relatively benign. He talked about the difference between smoking reefer with black people and smoking it with white people and how white people like juice and blacks like "drink" all the while cracking up an audience that appeared to be a black/white split, a testament to his cross-cultural appeal.
Chappelle also offered some current-events wit. In defense of R. Kelly: "If a man can't pee on his fans then I don't want to be in show business." And the war: "I was going to protest the war, then I saw what happened to the Dixie Chicks and I said, 'F that!'"
Chappelle ended his show by leading the crowd in a rendition of the theme from the late-'70s sitcom "Good Times." He joked, "They had a Fed up idea of a good time." Not the case for those at the Carpenter Center last week. Carrie Nieman
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