EDGELORD FOCKER: Here’s What Happened at Dave Chappelle’s Sold-Out Toronto Screening

EDGELORD FOCKER: Here’s what happened at Dave Chappelle’s Sold-Out Toronto Screening

G.O.A.T. in hot water gives Scotiabank his first “real show [in a very long time],” brings along Jeff Ross, Sam Jay, & Kardinal Official.
PHOTO CREDIT:
Owen Sweeney / Kennedy Centre Honours

Dave Chappelle’s survival tour complete with film screening, guests, and an appearance from the man himself hit Scotiabank Arena last night as organizations call out MLSE for booking the in-demand controversial entertainer.

“I’m in an enormous amount of trouble,” he joked before leaning forward and laughing it off during the top of his set, “I had no idea these transgender niggas is so strong!”

Chappelle laughed off his situation throughout the night and trivialized backlash to The Closer. The recent delay of a fundraiser for Chappelle’s theatre at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts was written off as simply “cancelling from stuff I [didn’t] wanna go to.”

It was a very corporate setting for a performer more familiarly seen in play theatres and clubs. Chappelle booked a last-minute arena tour after having his documentary dropped by numerous film festivals in regard to comments made by him in his latest Netflix special The Closer that were considered to be discriminatory by many.

Both Chappelle and more so Netflix have come under fire recently with the streaming giant experiencing a staff walkout on October 20.

Since his 2017 return to comedy, Chappelle has become a mascot (some say martyr) for a larger cultural argument regarding performers who thrive off of exercising explosive free speech and communities who feel their entertainment comes at the expense of their people.

The booking of Toronto as the one Canadian city on Chappelle’s tour might assume a replacement for TIFF, but with Toronto’s high LGBTQ+ presence and an advancingly inclusive cultural conversation on the nuances of gender that come with it, Chappelle’s booking feels a bit firestarter. Regardless and perhaps fueled by citizens on the other side, the show sold out almost immediately.

Guests were given a high-quality mask branded with the logo Chappelle has been using since it adorned the stage of his iconic sketch show. The venue used Yondr, a service that aims to stop phone recording at live events (Chappelle has credited Hannibal Buress’ accidental ending of Bill Cosby’s career as inspiration for using the service). As with nearly all of Chappelle’s shows since his comeback, audience members were guided to conceal their phones with a locked fabric slip that could only be opened upon exit or emergency.

Chappelle’s current public predicament was alluded to for gags for much of the show.

During his encore, Chappelle para-referenced jokes that have since got him into hot water to rapturous response. At one point he teased his infamous “Asian Face” saying it was how he tricked facial recognition to hack into his wife’s iPhone 13. Another saw him misquoting Game of Thrones by saying “what is already dead can never die” in reference to his survival through cancellation.

To an obvious extent, I believe there should be room in our culture for jokes about trans people, the same way there should be jokes about Black people, Asian people, White Women and other marginalized communities. Dave Chappelle is not a politician; he is a comedian. “I’m pro-TERF” is not a joke; it’s a confession. Further purely speaking from a fan’s perspective, it lacks the subversion Chappelle has been legendary for mastering over the last two decades. When Chappelle mocks the mere existence of a subclass of people, which he tolerates but finds absurd, he displays an intolerance that recalls intolerances directed at him.

There IS a difference between the haphazard material in The Closer, and jokes he made in The Age of Spin; some of which joked that his most intimidating friends wear high heels to signal for police not to shoot them or suffocate them to death. You see, that is a joke. Not to mention, almost all of Chappelle’s material can be used as evidence to prove that he’s capable of saying outlandish things he does not believe in service to his art.

Tenured insult comedian Jeff Ross MC’d the show and understood both the demographic and the assignment. Purveyors of free speech and edgelords littered the crowd. A single mention of Kamala Harris was followed by what sounded like 30 male groans. Ross brought down the house with jokes about cosplaying The Handmaid’s Tale and the Royal Family’s sex life which he acted out on the floor in great detail.

A crowd highlight saw Ross brought back to “speed roast” the audience following a killer tight nine from HBO late night host Sam Jay. With about a dozen willing participants on stage, Ross strolled along making effective barbs on each of his volunteers.

Eccentric local celebrity and loaded Yorkville jewelry store owner Russell Oliver received a huge reaction after hulking the stage and exclaiming “I am the Cashman!” before Ross told Oliver “this isn’t a shareholder’s meeting” and called him “Pete Townsend’s accountant.”

The biggest laugh came when Ross who was working a lovely and game heavier-set woman, told her to “let me see your balls” after the crowd cheered while she raised her arms and danced. When Ross added, “are you here protesting Dave’s new special?” The audience, including myself roared.

The documentary screened around 8:30 PM. Titled Live in Real Life, it is powerful. You might hear the words “it was well done” from a regular joe.

The film focuses on Chappelle’s Ohio COVID miracle events which provided badly needed morale and millions to small businesses in Yellow Springs amidst a devastating pandemic and a burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement.

The documentary sees Chappelle MC the nights which exhaust his 30-year rolodex of living comedic legends, as well as perform routines and handle logistics, volunteer at protests, and closely mentor younger comedians. The film’s conflict comes as the Ohio zoning board tries to put an end to the shows to comply with lockdown limitations and a community who are seen as either unjustifiably protesting the show or praising it as a badly needed local institution.

It’s a whale of a good time as well, full of behind the scenes looks and a murderer’s row of comedians. The film’s Fourth of July sequence includes both Jon Hamm singing “Don’t Stop Believin” and Tiffany Haddish’s Tina Turner impression before the entire ensemble rocked out to an Erykah Badu-requested “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Festival placement likely would have been ideal, as an arena is nearly impossible to keep silent which feels like what much of the film’s emotional core required.

With cancel culture firmly on everyone’s lips, big cheers for David Letterman signal more of a dismissal than an erasure of his past actions, commonly chastised by much of the left. It is not clear if these cheers are for him or for the premise of un-cancelability, a major theme of the night’s subject matter. Alternatively, Jon Stewart’s appearance in the film and his urge to address our fears in order to reverse the systems we created, got a massive round of cheers and applause.

Chappelle hit the stage to standing ovation and said he would give the audience something he had not given one in a long time: “a real show.”

Topics ranged from Black America’s fondness for Canada to deterring health messages on our cigarette boxes. Chappelle has hired two new bodyguards, perhaps due to online threats he’s been receiving, one of which he claimed could sing so well that he hopes to send him to his attacker’s funerals to heal their families. According to his routine, his wife also bought him a 32-caliber pistol. “Your terrorists here use scissors.”

Chappelle made jokes about the newly minted bisexual Superman, who with promises of justice, liberty and the American way likely would have been retrieving runaway slaves for the Confederate Army had he been drawn 100 years before.

The sound team fumbled the ball more than a few times receiving visible displeasure from veteran Jeff Ross during his own set and a few light barbs from Chappelle who after the audience booed, diffused the situation by saying, “it’s not his fault…I didn’t go to soundcheck.”

Chappelle then brought out Kardinal Official, who he called his "brother in arms" and credits him as one of the first guests who showed up to his Yellow Springs shows. The local dancehall artist and rapper played an exhausting four song set which aimed to hype up the crowd... unnecessarily for more comedy.

Chappelle smoked a cigarette and lurked in the back while Kardinal’s DJ pounded out songs as the rapper and his hypeman shouted things like “CLEAR!” One must consider the sold-out crowd who had just sat through an hour of comedy & two hours of film who had come to see Dave Chappelle who was in turn relegated to side stage for most Kardi’s set.

Official then explained his interpretation of good comedy to the audience as “learning to take the worst situation in life” and create something “intelligent, generous, and honest…” while Chappelle nodded behind. Oh boy.

Chappelle then joined the crew to sing a string of dancehall classics like “No, No, No” and a few Bob Marley numbers. The others then exited the stage in a scattershot sequence for Chappelle to deliver a few more minutes of standup. After tension raised when someone from the building approached him on stage to deliver a message, he then made his bodyguard Brandon sing a hymn. He wasn’t lying.

When an audience member asked Chappelle to tell his favourite Norm Macdonald joke, the comedian got emotional, telling us Canada had given comedy a real gift and crediting time he spent with Macdonald on Screwed as the lift he needed after the death of his father left him “inconsolable.” It was a Cosby joke.

Chappelle called Macdonald, himself seen as a maverick of free speech in comedy, “more gangster than the most gangsta rapper of all time” and “the joy of my life,” and said he stared death in the face, his voice audibly more solemn.

The show went about thirty minutes over the 11:00 PM curfew with Chappelle giving audience members marriage advice and urging them to forgive themselves in order to make themselves less critical. His ultimate marriage lesson: “Cheat!”

Kanye West’s “Jail,” a song that combines Marilyn Manson, DaBaby, and Jay-Z depending on version, played through the loudspeakers as Chappelle saw off the crowd and closed the show after his last joke: for people to do something lovely for others such as buying coffee for a transgender person. The comedian advised that when the recipient asks why you would do such a thing, to smile and say, “tell them Dave Chappelle sent you.”

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Dave Chappelle’s survival tour complete with film screening, guests, and an appearance from the man himself hit Scotiabank Arena last night as organizations call out MLSE for booking the in-demand controversial entertainer.

“I’m in an enormous amount of trouble,” he joked before leaning forward and laughing it off during the top of his set, “I had no idea these transgender niggas is so strong!”

Chappelle laughed off his situation throughout the night and trivialized backlash to The Closer. The recent delay of a fundraiser for Chappelle’s theatre at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts was written off as simply “cancelling from stuff I [didn’t] wanna go to.”

It was a very corporate setting for a performer more familiarly seen in play theatres and clubs. Chappelle booked a last-minute arena tour after having his documentary dropped by numerous film festivals in regard to comments made by him in his latest Netflix special The Closer that were considered to be discriminatory by many.

Both Chappelle and more so Netflix have come under fire recently with the streaming giant experiencing a staff walkout on October 20.

Since his 2017 return to comedy, Chappelle has become a mascot (some say martyr) for a larger cultural argument regarding performers who thrive off of exercising explosive free speech and communities who feel their entertainment comes at the expense of their people.

The booking of Toronto as the one Canadian city on Chappelle’s tour might assume a replacement for TIFF, but with Toronto’s high LGBTQ+ presence and an advancingly inclusive cultural conversation on the nuances of gender that come with it, Chappelle’s booking feels a bit firestarter. Regardless and perhaps fueled by citizens on the other side, the show sold out almost immediately.

Guests were given a high-quality mask branded with the logo Chappelle has been using since it adorned the stage of his iconic sketch show. The venue used Yondr, a service that aims to stop phone recording at live events (Chappelle has credited Hannibal Buress’ accidental ending of Bill Cosby’s career as inspiration for using the service). As with nearly all of Chappelle’s shows since his comeback, audience members were guided to conceal their phones with a locked fabric slip that could only be opened upon exit or emergency.

Chappelle’s current public predicament was alluded to for gags for much of the show.

During his encore, Chappelle para-referenced jokes that have since got him into hot water to rapturous response. At one point he teased his infamous “Asian Face” saying it was how he tricked facial recognition to hack into his wife’s iPhone 13. Another saw him misquoting Game of Thrones by saying “what is already dead can never die” in reference to his survival through cancellation.

To an obvious extent, I believe there should be room in our culture for jokes about trans people, the same way there should be jokes about Black people, Asian people, White Women and other marginalized communities. Dave Chappelle is not a politician; he is a comedian. “I’m pro-TERF” is not a joke; it’s a confession. Further purely speaking from a fan’s perspective, it lacks the subversion Chappelle has been legendary for mastering over the last two decades. When Chappelle mocks the mere existence of a subclass of people, which he tolerates but finds absurd, he displays an intolerance that recalls intolerances directed at him.

There IS a difference between the haphazard material in The Closer, and jokes he made in The Age of Spin; some of which joked that his most intimidating friends wear high heels to signal for police not to shoot them or suffocate them to death. You see, that is a joke. Not to mention, almost all of Chappelle’s material can be used as evidence to prove that he’s capable of saying outlandish things he does not believe in service to his art.

Tenured insult comedian Jeff Ross MC’d the show and understood both the demographic and the assignment. Purveyors of free speech and edgelords littered the crowd. A single mention of Kamala Harris was followed by what sounded like 30 male groans. Ross brought down the house with jokes about cosplaying The Handmaid’s Tale and the Royal Family’s sex life which he acted out on the floor in great detail.

A crowd highlight saw Ross brought back to “speed roast” the audience following a killer tight nine from HBO late night host Sam Jay. With about a dozen willing participants on stage, Ross strolled along making effective barbs on each of his volunteers.

Eccentric local celebrity and loaded Yorkville jewelry store owner Russell Oliver received a huge reaction after hulking the stage and exclaiming “I am the Cashman!” before Ross told Oliver “this isn’t a shareholder’s meeting” and called him “Pete Townsend’s accountant.”

The biggest laugh came when Ross who was working a lovely and game heavier-set woman, told her to “let me see your balls” after the crowd cheered while she raised her arms and danced. When Ross added, “are you here protesting Dave’s new special?” The audience, including myself roared.

The documentary screened around 8:30 PM. Titled Live in Real Life, it is powerful. You might hear the words “it was well done” from a regular joe.

The film focuses on Chappelle’s Ohio COVID miracle events which provided badly needed morale and millions to small businesses in Yellow Springs amidst a devastating pandemic and a burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement.

The documentary sees Chappelle MC the nights which exhaust his 30-year rolodex of living comedic legends, as well as perform routines and handle logistics, volunteer at protests, and closely mentor younger comedians. The film’s conflict comes as the Ohio zoning board tries to put an end to the shows to comply with lockdown limitations and a community who are seen as either unjustifiably protesting the show or praising it as a badly needed local institution.

It’s a whale of a good time as well, full of behind the scenes looks and a murderer’s row of comedians. The film’s Fourth of July sequence includes both Jon Hamm singing “Don’t Stop Believin” and Tiffany Haddish’s Tina Turner impression before the entire ensemble rocked out to an Erykah Badu-requested “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Festival placement likely would have been ideal, as an arena is nearly impossible to keep silent which feels like what much of the film’s emotional core required.

With cancel culture firmly on everyone’s lips, big cheers for David Letterman signal more of a dismissal than an erasure of his past actions, commonly chastised by much of the left. It is not clear if these cheers are for him or for the premise of un-cancelability, a major theme of the night’s subject matter. Alternatively, Jon Stewart’s appearance in the film and his urge to address our fears in order to reverse the systems we created, got a massive round of cheers and applause.

Chappelle hit the stage to standing ovation and said he would give the audience something he had not given one in a long time: “a real show.”

Topics ranged from Black America’s fondness for Canada to deterring health messages on our cigarette boxes. Chappelle has hired two new bodyguards, perhaps due to online threats he’s been receiving, one of which he claimed could sing so well that he hopes to send him to his attacker’s funerals to heal their families. According to his routine, his wife also bought him a 32-caliber pistol. “Your terrorists here use scissors.”

Chappelle made jokes about the newly minted bisexual Superman, who with promises of justice, liberty and the American way likely would have been retrieving runaway slaves for the Confederate Army had he been drawn 100 years before.

The sound team fumbled the ball more than a few times receiving visible displeasure from veteran Jeff Ross during his own set and a few light barbs from Chappelle who after the audience booed, diffused the situation by saying, “it’s not his fault…I didn’t go to soundcheck.”

Chappelle then brought out Kardinal Official, who he called his "brother in arms" and credits him as one of the first guests who showed up to his Yellow Springs shows. The local dancehall artist and rapper played an exhausting four song set which aimed to hype up the crowd... unnecessarily for more comedy.

Chappelle smoked a cigarette and lurked in the back while Kardinal’s DJ pounded out songs as the rapper and his hypeman shouted things like “CLEAR!” One must consider the sold-out crowd who had just sat through an hour of comedy & two hours of film who had come to see Dave Chappelle who was in turn relegated to side stage for most Kardi’s set.

Official then explained his interpretation of good comedy to the audience as “learning to take the worst situation in life” and create something “intelligent, generous, and honest…” while Chappelle nodded behind. Oh boy.

Chappelle then joined the crew to sing a string of dancehall classics like “No, No, No” and a few Bob Marley numbers. The others then exited the stage in a scattershot sequence for Chappelle to deliver a few more minutes of standup. After tension raised when someone from the building approached him on stage to deliver a message, he then made his bodyguard Brandon sing a hymn. He wasn’t lying.

When an audience member asked Chappelle to tell his favourite Norm Macdonald joke, the comedian got emotional, telling us Canada had given comedy a real gift and crediting time he spent with Macdonald on Screwed as the lift he needed after the death of his father left him “inconsolable.” It was a Cosby joke.

Chappelle called Macdonald, himself seen as a maverick of free speech in comedy, “more gangster than the most gangsta rapper of all time” and “the joy of my life,” and said he stared death in the face, his voice audibly more solemn.

The show went about thirty minutes over the 11:00 PM curfew with Chappelle giving audience members marriage advice and urging them to forgive themselves in order to make themselves less critical. His ultimate marriage lesson: “Cheat!”

Kanye West’s “Jail,” a song that combines Marilyn Manson, DaBaby, and Jay-Z depending on version, played through the loudspeakers as Chappelle saw off the crowd and closed the show after his last joke: for people to do something lovely for others such as buying coffee for a transgender person. The comedian advised that when the recipient asks why you would do such a thing, to smile and say, “tell them Dave Chappelle sent you.”

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