Lesson learned: comedians are people with feelings, and those feelings can be hurt.
After Dave Chappelle was heckled for over 10 minutes while co-headlining Funny or Die’s “Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival” in Hartford, Connecticut on Thursday (Aug. 29), the comedian had a meltdown onstage. He got so upset that he reportedly stopped performing less than halfway through his allotted set time. Instead of serving up the rest of his stand-up routine, he used the rest of his contractually-obligated 15 minutes of performance time to sit on a stool, smoke cigarettes, and read out loud from an audience member’s book.
Chappelle had endured shouts and boos from the audience for 10 minutes before stopping his routine. The crowd continued to boo him as he sat onstage for the rest of his set, and Chappelle responded with “You’re booing yourself. I want you to go home and look in the mirror and say ‘Boo.’ Remember, that’s how I feel about you.”
While most of the people who were at the show were angry, some fans took to Twitter later to defend Chappelle, instead blaming the noisy and disrespectful audience. Comedian Patton Oswalt — who wasn’t at the show — also came to Chappelle’s defense:
Dear Dave Chappelle’s fans: He’s one of the best comedians working, & you’re not letting him do what he loves. Stop being assholes.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) August 30, 2013
This isn’t the first time hecklers have gotten the better of Chappelle. After performing one joke at a charity event in Miami in 2011, he stopped his set and used his remaining 45 minutes to sit on stage and sigh at the audience.