Review: Dave Chappelle at Blaisdell Arena
REVIEW BY JASON GENEGABUS / firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been a long time coming for Honolulu fans — more than a decade since “Chappelle’s Show” made its debut on Comedy Central and almost eight years since it went off the air, comedian Dave Chappelle finally paid a visit to Hawaii this week.
“I finally made it to Hawaii, man. I’m sorry it took so long to get here,” the 40-year-old told the packed house at Blaisdell Arena on Thursday night.
And towards the end of his 56-minute set: “I should have been in Honolulu years ago. … The last time I did a show this good, me and the whole crowd went out after!”
Following a Wednesday night performance on Maui, a visibly relaxed Chappelle wandered out on stage and saluted the crowd with an “Aloha!” and “Mahalo!” before kicking off what almost felt like a stream-of-consicousness set of jokes not far removed from the type fans remember from “Chappelle’s Show.” He followed a 15-minute opening performance by Kermet Apio, who was born and raised in Hawaii but now lives in Seattle.
Dressed in a pair of jeans with holes at the knees and a brown tank top, Chappelle made sure to take one last drag off a suspicious-looking cigarillo — to the cheers of the Blaisdell crowd — before cracking a few Hawaii-related jokes about Tongans and whales, giving a shout out to the sign language interpreter working that night and explaining what really happened in Hartford, Conn. last year when he encountered a vicious crowd that wouldn’t stop booing him.
From there, it was on to Paula Deen and her recent troubles from allegations of racism and departure from the Food Network.
“It’s hard for me to stay mad at Paula Deen,” Chappelle said, admitting he’s said plenty of stupid things himself over the last 30 years before launching into a bit about calling the celebrity chef and offering her a job.
Did he actually do that? Did he even call her in the first place? Who knows, but Chappelle’s storytelling abilities made it easy to picture in your mind what it would be like if Deen was in his family’s kitchen whipping up a gourmet meal. And it was hilarious.
Those who expected a more mature, reflective Chappelle were surely disappointed, as he stuck to a steady stream of jokes about a specific part of the female anatomy, a certain type of bodily fluid and masturbation. Sure, he got a few cracks in about his family life, but the biggest crowd response came after impersonations of 50 Cent and Lil Wayne — and of course, both jokes had punchlines featuring the aforementioned bodily fluid.
Even his misfires got laughs. After lighting a second cigarillo on stage, Chappelle almost started to tell the same whale-watching story he shared at the start of the night.
“Saw a whale… told you that,” he said.
No matter. The crowd still cheered. On this night, Chappelle could do no wrong.
Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter and Google+.