A Night of Comedy that Wasn’t All that Funny
It was supposed to be a great night. Dave Chappelle and Jon Stewart, live, in our new stadium. I didn’t even mind that my phone needed to be locked up for the show. I get it. Comedians don’t want their acts recorded and blasted out on YouTube. With my drink in hand, bring on the comedy.
The show got off to a great start. Mo Amer, whom I’ve never heard of, opened for Chappelle, and turns out, he grew up in Houston after emigrating from Kuwait as a refugee when he was nine during the Gulf War. He is well traveled and a great storyteller giving him plenty of material to draw from. He killed it. I was doubled over at some points. Mo will be filming his first comedy special with Netflix on Jun 28th in Austin. I will definitely be tuning in for that when it becomes available. I had high hopes for the evening, but they were about to get dashed.
Next up was Pete Davidson. I was blown away when they announced him. The is the guy from Saturday Night Live who recently got engaged to Ariana Grande after dating for only two weeks. Won’t this be fun! Unfortunately it wasn’t. And I’m sure Pete would agree, he bombed. I hope Ariana wasn’t in the audience. And I’m sure this couple will live happily ever after (insert eye roll) but in the meantime, Pete needs to work on his stand up. He literally had nothing interesting to say. WTF, Pete! Why not talk about the behind the scenes at SNL? Everyone loves that kind of shit. Why not talk about your recent stay in rehab? Did he receive a comedic epiphany? Nope, he just stood around and talked about how he didn’t write any jokes for tonight. I will never get that 15 minutes of my life back.
Jon Stewart, the political pundit, was next. His bit was one long rant, starting with, how in the hell did we live in Houston, a city that is one large humidifier. Why shucks, John, we’ve never heard that one before, Jon. Then he moved onto Hurricane Harvey and why did we live here. Just a suggestion to other comedians, don’t start your routine by dissing the city you are a guest in unless you are willing to slam the city you live in as well. Quid pro quo. From there, Stewart moved on to criticize Trump and the office of the President.
At this exact point in our history, Trump hadn’t signed the executive order to stop splitting up migrant families at the border. Nobody liked that and I could feel the audiences’ uneasiness in the room. The kind where people chuckled, then looked around to see if they offended anyone. Around this time I began to lose interest. It was like Stewart was in a bad mood and taking it out on us. The dilemma was Chappelle was next and I needed to pee. I made what I think was a very smart decision – to get up and walk out on John Stewart.
Finally! The reason we were there, Dave Chappelle took the stage. So what’s he been up to during his hiatus from comedy? Hitting the gym, apparently. His arms are huge. And he’s a chain-smoker, too. Maybe he always was, but I was surprised how he smoked one right after the other, and when he ran out of cigarettes, someone from the audience tossed him another pack.
I’m sure this probably shows my age that I feel this was a total lack of respect on Chappelle’s part. It’s against our city’s ordinance to smoke inside a public building. I can’t do it. Not even the good stuff. But nobody stopped him. Chappelle was funny, I’ll give him that. When he joked about the opioid crisis in his home state of Ohio, he didn’t blame government or the pharmaceutical companies, he just made comical observations about the world we live which at times can suck.
At the end of Chappelle’s stand-up, all four comedians joined together on stage and basically shot the shit. It wasn’t planned, nor strategized, and as a result, it wasn’t particularly funny.
This is just my opinion, but what makes a great comedian is one that makes us laugh our troubles away instead of making us feel worse. The goal attending a comedy show should be to feel better about life when you leave, then when you arrived. It’s okay to question what’s going on in our society at large, but at the end of the day (or the show) there needs to be actual humor.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this show a 5.