Dave Chappelle is an inscrutable fellow. Living legend, comedic icon, he's also a very mercurial performer. His live shows are notorious -- for their unscripted, off-the-cuff nature, for their length (we saw him at Cobb's once, and he outlasted the audience and the production staff), and for the sheer variety of moods Dave goes through while onstage.
Here in the Bay Area, where Dave performs a half-dozen or so times a year, his live shows also sell out really fucking fast, oftentimes with very short notice and next to no advertising. The latest example:The Independent announced a pair of Chappelle shows Monday at about 11:32 a.m. The $55 tickets went on sale at noon -- and within 30 seconds, they were gone -- all gone.
In other words: the old Chappelle maneuver.
We thought we were well-positioned to avoid being so Chappelled, this time around: we were at our computer, dutifully working away, watching the clock with one eye. At 11:59 a.m. we were ready. The clock struck noon, and credit card in hand, we clicked the link to buy tickets -- and the show was sold out.
This has happened before. In fact, it happens every time. Dave show is announced -- and before a blogger can even punctuate his sentence, Dave show sells out. Not a bad gig -- if you're Dave.
This is to script. The Independent shares ownership with the New Parish in Oakland, where shows have similarly been announced and sold out in the same blink of an eye.
For this, Dave has been accused of using the Bay Area as his ATM, and sure that might be true, but why not? The city's gaming nerds need something social to do; why not send it to the comedic genius of Yellow Springs, Ohio?
And he's not so much the problem, either; he's pulled off the trick of deploring fame whilst simultaneously becoming a fame magnet like few others. As as a colleague just tweeted us, "resisting the scalperbots is futile."
QED: 20 minutes after selling out, Chappelle tickets appeared on StubHub for up to five times face value.