Dave Chappelle Tanked Florida Concert Because He Didn't Want a 'Reverse Kramer' Situation
By John Sellers
The reclusive "Chappelle's Show" star said that he didn't even get a chance to begin his routine that night because attendees in the front row began heckling immediately and that he was worried that it would become a "reverse Kramer" situation--a reference to the bigoted tirade "Seinfeld" alum Michael Richards launched into at a comedy club in 2006. Instead, he stayed on stage for 46 mostly silent moments.
Let's note that Chappelle often does racial bits, including this bit about Indians:
I'd say some of these comments are in questionable taste. Indeed, like many other comedians, Chappelle has employed hipster racism. "It's okay if I make fun of ethnic groups," he might say, "because I'm doing it satirically or ironically."
In general, audiences shouldn't interrupt or intimidate invited guests. Or disrupt the experience of other paying customers. But if people thought Chappelle was launching a semi-racist tirade, I could understand their reaction. When comedians harangue an audience, as Michael Kramer did, they have a right to respond.
For more on the subject, see Kathy Griffin in a Headdress and The Magical Power of Intent.