“Would a brother be happy if some of the comics he works with match their ability with their arrogance? Why yes, yes he would”.

This post was in response to a scene that played out down at the Comedy Cellar. Dave Chappelle dropped in for a guest set. The Cellar is an old stomping ground for Dave since back in the 90’s.  When he shows up, he goes on whenever he wants and for however long.  It has been months since his last drop in and the club was abuzz. I introduced him 2nd in the second show which has a start time of 11.  I was told Dave had some place to be and wouldn’t be doing one of his patented open ended sets.( I once watched him do 5 and a half hours) Whenever Dave pops in the schedule adjusts to him. The comic that is bumped has the option to get paid and split.   Aside from a brilliant bit about the Tracey Morgan rant, he pretty much stood up there calmly chatting with the crowd and smoking cigarettes for just shy of an hour.  He hinted at some bits he had but said he wouldn’t do, that he was saving them for a future time. Dave Chappelle coming back into the stand up scene is a wonderful thing.  The comedic mountains he has climbed affords him the ability to do 3 jokes in an hour.  People love him. The act that was scheduled to go on second didn’t wait long and left after 20 minutes. A later act also didn’t stick around. The act following Dave did about 40 minutes in what was supposed to be a 15 minute set. He fancies himself on par with Dave and even though there were two more acts ready to go on, this comedian didn’t care.  He was later quoted as saying “you know I’m gonna do my time!” He was right, and everybody else’s too. Many clubs like the Cellar have time slots for comedians so they know when they will go on and prepare accordingly.  Few things irk comics more than being bumped or not being able to perform on time because another comic went long. Occasionally someone will have one of those magic performances and it’s clear the set had to be as long as it was. On this night that wasn’t the case. This guy was doing crowd work for chrissakes! (So,..where are you from) All too often, these delays are caused by comics who simply could care less about anybody else. What’s funny to me is this type of comic believes he is so good that it would have been criminal to do a second less. The general rule is, the emcee turns on a light two minutes before he should be off stage, allowing the comic time to wrap it up. If I had fifty grand for every time a comedian told me he didn’t see the light, I’d be a gajillionaire.

Jump starting the crowd with your own laughter and/or covering up the fact that the audience isn’t laughing as hard as you are is a sign of sub par ability. One tell tale way you know a comic isn’t as good as he thinks he is when he finally says goodnight, he tells the audience to “make some noise” or “I know yall can do better than that”.  A standing ovation doesn’t count if you have to ask for it.


William Stephenson

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