Controversial and reclusive comic, Dave Chappelle, surprised downtown Portland, Oregon by performing a giant free one hour stand-up comedy event at about midnight last night at Pioneer Square. The event was only rumored on Facebook and Twitter, but drew a huge crowd despite the late hour it was held. The only real hitch was major microphone problems, forcing Chappelle hold up a small guitar amp to make his comedy address. Chappelle held some similar guerrilla comedy events in California recently as well.
While widely praised as a true comic genius, Chappelle strangely negotiated a business contract deal worth $50 million dollars a few years ago with Comedy Central to do a program, which was twice what Jay Leno was earning at the time, but then mysteriously walked away from the deal after agreeing to sign the deal, and became something of a recluse, with only a few appearances since. These new free guerrilla comedy events by Chappelle may signal that he is getting ready for a return to comedy.
Despite the heavy overtones of some comedy based on race relations issues, Chappelle continues to draw huge audiences of White fans. In fact, in Portland, the audience was overwhelmingly White. And Chappelle was once also controversial for much drug humor. Despite very controversial content such as his racial humor or his drug humor, Chappelle is highly praised and has legions of loyal fans. Chappelle seems unable to scare away fans no matter what type of jokes he tells, compared to some comics such as former Seinfeld star Michael Richards which told some racial jokes that weren't very funny singling out a fan in the audience who paid to hear him, only hurting his career. Chappelle manages to be funny and offensive both at some time, whereas Richards came across as merely offensive and not very funny. This is part of the Chappelle genius. He is able to say things other less skillful comics cannot quite pull off.
Chappelle also hosted a half hour comedy show that once aired over at Comedy Central that now is in syndication to other networks, undoubtedly a little more censored. Chappelle was also very funny and made great fun of race relations, drugs, culture and politics. The short-lived program was sheer genius at times and great TV.
Hopefully, Dave Chappelle may be back in a big way soon. His guerrilla comedy events seem to indicate something brewing for this comic genius.