By Rodney Ho, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
(CNT) City News Talk #atlanta-ga
The reason Dave Chappelle decided to spend this weekend in Atlanta doing multiple shows at a small comedy club became clearer when “Saturday Night Live” announced during its show that he will be the host next weekend.
This is an echo of 2016 because Chappelle happened to be the first post-election host then as well.
Chappelle will be expected to do a stand-up monologue after the “SNL” cold open sketch Nov. 7 in New York City. He is using the metro Atlanta shows to warm up potential material, although the results of the election are not yet known.
So far, he has now done four of his six scheduled shows at the Atlanta Comedy Theater in Norcross, which normally fits 250 but is accepting no more than 100 for each of these shows to ensure safety during the pandemic. Chappelle has two more sold-out shows tonight.
“It’s amazing,” said Atlanta Comedy Theater owner Gary Abdo. “The energy is off the charts. The after-parties are outrageous.”
And Abdo, who has known Chappelle 26 years going back to when he owned Buckhead’s Uptown Comedy Corner, said he couldn’t be more thankful for the lift during a struggling times for all indoor entertainment venues: “He is the most humble, gracious human I’ve ever met.”
The legendary comic set up a COVID-19 rapid-testing site in the parking lot. All employees and ticket buyers entering the building had to pass one. Abdo said that so far nobody has tested positive.
Not surprisingly, some big-name guests have popped into the show so far including T.I., 2 Chainz and Don “DC” Curry. Atlanta resident Chris Tucker has been one of Chappelle’s openers for each show.
Nick Wolaver, a longtime Atlanta publicist, nabbed tickets for Friday’s late show and said it was well worth the $173 he spent. (The tickets were priced at $135 before fees, including some costs to pay for the COVID test.) In fact, if Chappelle were to add any more shows, he would be open to going again.
“I would say the content was a bit darker and serious than some of his other shows,” Wolaver said. “It was leaning heavily on politics and he talked about the election quite a bit.” He said he also discussed transgender and race issues.
He said the 10 p.m. show Friday started around 10:40 p.m. and ended at about 12:30 a.m. Chappelle, he estimated, performed about 90 minutes.