Rumors of Dave Chappelle ‘Meltdown’ Go Viral

Did he or did he not have a tantrum while walking offstage? Twitter investigates.

Dave Chappelle (Chad Buchanan/Getty Images)
Dave Chappelle (Chad Buchanan/Getty Images)

(The Root) — Late last night, tweets began to fly from audience members of a Dave Chappelle show in Hartford, Conn.

Though all tweets confirm that Chappelle did, in fact, walk offstage — there is video of him walking off as Kanye’s “New Slaves” plays — details vary among those who claim they were in attendance. Some say that Chappelle had a full meltdown onstage; others say he just sat down and read a book.

Many angrily blamed Chappelle for the show’s end, referencing his record of walking off stages and off his own hit show. But others, like audience member Mike Wellman, point the finger at the crowd, who they say was loud and unruly and became rude once it was clear that Chappelle was not simply going to regurgitate famed lines from his popular television show.

Based on this account — and this one by Lesli-Ann Lewis, who wrote about her experience at the show for Ebony — it sounds as if Chappelle walked offstage for the same reason he walked away from his show: The crowd was only interested in catchphrases and superficial snips. They came to laugh at him, not with him. This is especially easy to believe when you happen upon those in attendance referring to him as a “scum n–ger.”

There appears to be a pretty clear racial divide in the opinions surrounding the show, generally speaking. Most white commentators seem to view Chappelle’s actions as those of a diva throwing a tantrum, while most black observers say he was standing up for himself and protecting his art.