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Dave Chappelle stays controversial with Broadway run

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photo: @caritza_berlioz

Dave Chappelle‘s two-week Broadway run at the Lunt Fontanne Theater began on Tuesday and so far, in addition to his stand-up set, shows have included a second hour that was improvised based off audience questions. If you think the fancy digs of the Lunt Fontanne might have him playing it safe, think again. According to a New York Times review:

In his new show, he does Louis C.K. few favors by defending him limply. He also speaks up for Kevin Hart who, in his telling, lived a blameless life when his dream of hosting the Oscars was dashed because of a few tweets. And after litigating the case of Michael Jackson on specials in 2004 and 2017, he does so again here, telling his audience not to watch the recent HBO documentary, “Leaving Neverland,” in which two men who accused Jackson of sexual abuse speak out. Chappelle says he doesn’t believe them, and then adds that he has no evidence, before sputtering that even if the pop star was guilty, “he’s Michael Jackson.”

As he has told audiences many times, Chappelle says he is not in “the being right business.” He often adds qualifications to these provocations, but it’s hard not to notice that he sympathizes so much with his peers in wealth and fame. Once again returning to what he sees as the excesses of #MeToo, which he has soured on even more than in his special in 2017, when he described victims as “weak,” he focuses on the plight of the men, those accused, but also the ones who might be. Chappelle refers several times to the dangers of being canceled. He’s not worried, he says, because he doesn’t rape, but adds: “I have a few Aziz Ansaris in my past.”

Other subjects touched on, according to The Times: Jussie Smollett, Kanye West, and his prefered method of travel, private planes. The Times also said the Q&A portion was “looser, more surprising and funnier than what preceded it.”

Some tickets are still available for the remaining shows which run through July 20. Before the Broadway run began, Chappelle — as he has done in the past — surprised Comedy Cellar with a set, during which he brought out Aziz Ansari (whose new Netflix special just came out and touches on the sexual misconduct allegations) and Michael Che (who recently announced shows).

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