Dave Chappelle sneaked into Twin Cities and left ’em laughing


Dave Chappelle don’t have a lick of sense. For that matter, Tracey Ashley ain’t wrapped too tight, either. Between them both, August 2 at the Historic State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis was a gas.

Tracey Ashley, new to Twin Cities audiences, is fairly well accomplished, having to her credit stints on HBO’s The Lucky 21 and NBC’s Last Comic Standing. She opened with roughly 20 minutes of laid-back hilarity, riffing on, among other topics, how she’s got two first names (you wouldn’t believe how funny something that innocuous can be when handled right) and how to best abuse medical marijuana. Frankly, her wry, zany wit served as a perfect example of why more female comics should get a chance to do their thing in front of a big crowd.

David Chappelle
Dave Chappelle is very quietly making a cautious comeback. This was, in fact, part of his recent return to standup, following a similar appearance July
21 at Newmark Theatre in Portland. He has taken to slipping into town, scoping out the terrain and then doing a sneak attack gig with scant notice. To sold-out houses, like the one at the State. Which is all well and good, except, coming back from where?

However whoever got to him with the noise that he’d done a crash and burn, nobody checked with checked with the public.

 At any rate, the veteran ace was in fine form. He kicked things off cooler than a fan, giving President Barack Obama much props while at the same time striking a profoundly ironic note. It’s great, Chappelle acknowledged, that Obama wants to see taxes levied on a more equitable basis. After all, he asserts, why should 95 percent of Americans catch fiscal hell while five percent skate?

Only one thing: “It took me all this while to get rich, and now justice prevails.” He made no bones about earning big bread and, by the time he was done,

a pauper would see the humor in his situation.

Doubling back on the television show’s demise, he regaled with a ditty about how his friends got on his case for losing income. “What’s the difference,” he asked, “between making ten million and making fifty million?” The audience raptly attended while he dragged on a cigarette before admitting, “Forty million dollars, g*dd*mnit.”

Actually, a great deal on the evening was executed at his own expense. With Swiss-clock timing. Dave Chappelle, one is inclined to believe, could read the dictionary or recite the alphabet and have you laughing yourself sick. He did a great deal better than reading or reciting. The entire evening, going far past his scheduled 65-minute set, he was dead-on with rich material delivered as only Dave Chappelle can.


Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.