Dave Chappelle hosts impromptu comedy events in Yellow Springs — with more to come

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Dayton loves Dave Chappelle, and Dave Chappelle loves Dayton. A look at how the celebrity supports his Dayton home.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

“It was one of the coolest experiences in my life,” audience member says

Dave Chappelle is by far the Miami Valley's most famous resident. Dayton felt the benefit of its world-famous neighbor last summer during the Gem City Shine concert he organized that helped heal the Dayton community after the Oregon District shooting.

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Although that event was massive, hosting tens of thousands of people, Chappelle likes to throw small, impromptu events, too.

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He's known for his "Juke Joint" parties at Whitehall Farm at Tecumseh Land Trust in Yellow Springs. Those mini-festivals have featured celebrity musical and comedy guests and audience members like Frédéric Yonnet and DJ Nice,  Amy Schumer and Michael Che. The Juke Joints have a concert vibe, with beer and food vendors and a VW bus where you can get your souvenir photo since phone use is not permitted during Chappelle events.

Screen grab image of Dave Chappelle in "A Star is Born" directed by Bradley Cooper.
Screen grab image of Dave Chappelle in "A Star is Born" directed by Bradley Cooper.

On Saturday, June 6, Dave Chappelle held a private pop-up event that same evening in Yellow Springs. Dave Chapelle & Friends: A Talk with Punchlines was held at the Wirrig Pavilion, a stunning structure located off Route 68. The event started around 9 p.m. and wrapped up by midnight.

A similar event took place on Sunday, June 7 and Monday, June 8, as well.

The events were invitation only, according to the Eventbrite listings.

Chappelle has added more dates to this Dave Chappelle & Friends: A Talk with Punchlines series on Thursday, June 11Friday, June 12 and Saturday June 13. Tickets are sold out, according to Eventbrite.

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We asked a few people in attendance to share their experiences:

The events were quite small with an approximate count of 100 people, as reported by one of the attendees. Everyone wore masks for the whole performance while practicing social distancing.

Ed Dixon, a local art gallery owner, said a few people sat in the pavilion with Chappelle, and the rest of the audience sat in chairs spaced out on the lawn, relaxing under the stars. He also snagged one of Chappelle’s custom masks at the event.

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Ed Dixon with Dave Chapelle custom face mask.
Ed Dixon with Dave Chapelle custom face mask.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Chappelle has always been firm about not allowing phones into these intimate events, and this comedy show was no exception. However, a small film crew was on site filming.

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The focus on comedy is what made this event different from his past Juke Joint events. Guests said Chappelle performed a couple hours worth of material, along with performances by comedian Michelle Wolf and Gabe Kea, a comedian from Cincinnati. Michelle is currently local, as she has been quarantined at Dave Chappelle's house with his family.

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The style of comedy was described as laid back, almost conversational at times.

“Dave spoke about current events that no one has heard him say before,” attendee Raymond G. Howard of Dayton explained to us. “Trump, George Floyd, racism, his Netflix specials, a restraining order against a man from Fairborn, and his son getting tear gassed in Beavercreek at a protest.”

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Several attendees mentioned that Chappelle ended the night on a serious note as he expressed his feelings on the murder of George Floyd, the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. “It was so intense to see the emotion on his face from such a close distance,” Keith Klein of Dayton described to us. “It was a powerful and moving moment, especially with everything going on in the world right now.”

“It was an inspiring message from a local leader,” Ashley Pennington shared. “We are very lucky and thankful to have Dave here in Dayton engaging with the community...  He gave people a reason to smile and have hope that maybe we can pull off these kinds of events in our ‘new normal.’”

The personal set made for a very memorable evening. “It was one of the coolest experiences in my life,” audience goer Andrew Bazemore of Westerville told us.

Were you there? Share your experience with Libby Ballengee at libbyimages@gmail.com

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