This weekend you had to call it Radio City Comedy Hall. Dave Chappelle just finished the first week of his 16-date residency at one of the world's most famous and storied venues, teaming with fellow funny man G.O.A.T. Chris Rock for shows on Saturday and Sunday.
Seeing Rock and Chappelle do a show together is the equivalent of going to see a JAY-Z and Nas co-billed concert. They all entertain to the supreme level while giving insight and perspective. You're going to go home thinking. Two of the very best to do it, both are in the conversation for the very best to ever do it and be honest, what comedy lovers haven't debated about who is better between Rock or Chappelle - although we obviously have loved both for decades? Similarly to how we've debated who is greater JAY or Nas through the years. Both together in one show, though? This is an ultra cultural moment.
Dave has shown that he has no problem sharing the spotlight with fellas and ladies that walk in a elite circle of greatness. Just in February, the Revolt team had a chance to witness Dave and another Chris, Chris Tucker.
And while the anticipation of Rock and Chappelle has been craved for by fans ever since Dave did an impromptu set several months back during a Chris Rock tour date in Cleveland, fans in New York got more than they bargained for.
On Saturday, Chappelle pulled out his first two big gun surprises (way more unannounced guests are promised to appear at Radio City in the coming days): Amy Schumer and Kevin Hart. Schumer set the night off, dropping jaws by coming out before Rock. After Rock and a short intermission, the crowd was flabbergasted again with Kevin Hart performing before Chappelle's grand entrance. Of course Dave's DJ, Trauma, kept the house rocking like he does every night in between. Four superstars for the price of two.
Sunday's show was just as raw with the legendary with stars like DJ Khaled, singer Anthony Hamilton, radio broadcast pioneer Tom Joyner and hysterical actor and comedian David Alan Grier on the audience. Arsenio Hall showed that he still had his stage chops. The 30-year veteran came on before Rock, and garnered heavy laughs touching on subjects from coagulated lotion ("lotion boogers") to disgraced Olympian Oscar Pistorius.
Chris Rock, who will soon be resuming his own "Black Out" tour later this year, brought his usual unapologetic brash talk to the stage. The Brooklyn native joked about the need for bullies to toughen up kids and get them ready for society's harshness. Rock also delved heavily into his recent divorce and dropped gems for relationship bliss. Some of his funniest material was when he spoke on his two daughters and how he had to train them to deal with white people in life. And yes he did pat himself on the back because he is keeping his children "off the pole."
Chappelle, like all the comedians during the night, talked Donald Trump. Chappelle reflected on his early voter experience and how it gave him a premonition of a Trump win and how some media outlets erroneously labeled him a Trump supporter. In one brilliant swoop, Dave talked about the history of Emmett Till, made us cringe, made us angry, and tied back into a point he was making about our current President. These aren't just jokes; it's layered conversation and commentary. Some critics have vilified Chappelle for making jokes about transgender people, which he did again last night. Dave's words didn't seem laced with malice or hatred at all though, and he kept the entire Radio City laughing for his entire set.
Radio City will be getting heavily back into the music during the rest of Dave's residency (The Roots, Ice Cube, Common, Lil Wayne, Usher and Outkast's Big Boi have already performed with him in the opening week). Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Childish Gambino, Chance The Rapper, Solange, the real Lil Jon and a Reunion of Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey of Blackstar are all slated to hit the stage in NYC. There are also some open slots for "Special Guests" on the itinerary. And fear not, more of his comedian friends like Leslie Jones and Trevor Noah are on future Radio City bills as well.
One great tidbit about Chappelle's shows, there is strict no phone usage policy. Eventgoers must place their phones in special cases that lock before they enter Radio City. If you want to use your phone, you must go to a special "Phone Zone" just outside the lobby where ushers unlock the phone case. Your mobile device gets locked back up before you can enter again. Although the policy surprised everyone and even got a few infuriated, there is no denying the experience of just enjoying the show. You're not worrying about posting on social video of taking photos or video for posterity: you just sit there, watch and enjoy.