Comedian and actor Dave Chappelle entertained a sold-out Smith Center with jokes about the devil, drugs, private parts and love Saturday, as part of GW’s Welcome Week festivities.
In a performance marked more for its unplanned distractions, including a student caught videotaping and crowd objections to a new GW mascot, Chappelle kept the laughs coming with impromptu jokes and commentary.
After Student Association President Roger Kapoor drew a chorus of boos from students with a warm-up act, Chappelle complimented Kapoor and told the student leader he wants him to open his next D.C. performance.
Kapoor danced, told jokes, passed out Ben & Jerry’s “Half Baked” ice cream and did impressions of former presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton.
“I’m not offended by being booed,” Kapoor said. “I think everyone was so excited about Dave Chappelle that they would have booed anything we had before him.”
For more on Chappelle, see Hatchet Arts section
Kapoor has performed a number of stand-up shows in his hometown Chicago.
Chappelle also defended the new inflatable GW mascot introduced by Kapoor. He couldn’t quite sell the crowd on “Hip-Hop Hippo,” who drew rowdy boos and taunts from the audience.
During his almost two-hour set, Chappelle, a D.C. native, took shots at all races and belief systems and warned about the dangers of sex with animals.
“The farmers really need to worry about foot and mouth, because they have sex with those animals,” Chappelle said. “Soon it’ll be foot, mouth and dick disease.”
Chappelle, who is known for his roles in movies like Half Baked, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, The Nutty Professor, and his HBO comedy special filmed in the District, told stories about the D.C. streets and his childhood.
“I was in L.A. and there was a drive-by shooting,” Chappelle said. “It was scary, he drove by and yelled, `Crenshaw Boulevard!’ Why do you say the street you live on when you’re committing a felony?”
Chappelle treated the crowd to a fair share of his notoriously offensive racial humor.
“Some people say all black people look alike,” he joked. “We call them police.
After an hour and a half of jokes, Chappelle saw a student recording his act with a video camera and told the student to give him the tape.
The student, freshman Mike LaRocco, became the focus of the show for the next half-hour. Chappelle said he did not like LaRocco recording his show and joked that his inappropriate language might be rebroadcast on TV or the internet.
The audience lobbied Chappelle to destroy the tape, but LaRocco said the tape included “family stuff,” so the comedian took it and told LaRocco to wait backstage
After the show, LaRocco said he thought Chappelle was going to tape over the portions of the show he recorded.
“I hope he knows I didn’t mean to infringe on his rights, it was only for documentation,” LaRocco said, adding he would never tape a performance again.
After the show both students and Chappelle said they enjoyed the performance.
Amy Riesner, special event coordinator for the Student Activities Center, said all 4,200 tickets to the show were sold.
“We brought him because he’s popular with students, a lot of people like Half Baked,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of excitement, a lot of buzz. It’s a great opening event for students.”
Riesner said SAC chose the Smith Center for the event after upset students were turned away from a performance by comedian Bill Bellamy in the 1,200-seat Lisner Auditorium last year.
Sophomore Eric Porter was the first person in line for the show. He said he arrived at about 8 p.m. for the show, which was scheduled to begin at 10 p.m.
“I was the first person not to get into Bill Bellamy last year. And I had let people in front of me, so I was very bitter,” he said. “I wanted to make sure I’d get in.”
After the show, Porter said the wait was worthwhile.
“It was fun, I got free ice cream, it was wacky,” he said.