Dave Chappelle Debuts At Van Wezel In Sarasota
Dave Chappelle came to SRQ selling out both of his shows at 7pm and 10pm on Saturday night at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall! Dave's hosting the November 2016 season opener on Saturday Night Live delivered the show's highest ratings since 2013. Chappelle has inked a deal with Netflix for three comedy specials for 2017 at a reported $60 million.
Upon entering Van Wezel patrons were told no cell phones and if you had one, it was to be locked in a special bag until after the show. Everyone had to go through a security check. It all seemed a bit extreme until upon entering the hall it was discovered that the show was being filmed, no doubt for the upcoming Netflix specials.
While the audience was arriving at the 10pm show, DJ Trauma was providing the music. His mixes were R&B with some electronic music thrown in, he brought energy to an already excited crowd. Opening acts were comic Matt Fernandez from Tampa who has a low key humor that hits you after his punch line. Dave's friend Donnell Rawlings who co-hosted the 3rd season of Chappelle's Comedy Central show was hilarious! From Trump to the Chinese, Donnell kept it moving.
During the break before the main event, there was a reminder about phones and talk about people being ejected at the earlier show that had phones and some guy who heckled Dave. Not sure why you would come to a Chappelle show if you don't like his humor.
Dave came out to a standing O from the packed house. In a black tank with jeans and a Georgia ball cap, a drink and a cigarette, he was ready to go. His set was politically and sexually charged, not for the easily offended. He found a 14 year old named Alex in the audience who he carried on a conversation and referred to throughout the show, which probably will make this kid popular at his school this coming week! He had some great belly laugh material. A comedian who laughs at himself is always appealing. Chappelle is always edgy and controversial. A real win for the Van Wezel to finally get him to come to Sarasota!
photos by Vicky Sullivan / Rock The Lens Photography