Rowdy Knoxville audience disrupts Dave Chappelle performance

Large crowds flock downtown Knoxville for Dave Chappelle's one night only performance at the Tennessee Theatre. (JOHN KUNZA IV/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by John Kunza IV

Large crowds flock downtown Knoxville for Dave Chappelle's one night only performance at the Tennessee Theatre. (JOHN KUNZA IV/NEWS SENTINEL)

Downtown Knoxville was packed Tuesday night for Dave Chappelle's one-night-only sold out performances.

However, it seems not everyone in the crowd knew how to behave.

Knoxville comedian Matt Ward penned an open letter to last night's audiences. (Full disclosure: Ward is a nightlife freelance writer for the News Sentinel). Among the highlights:

3.) If you are not being spoken to from the stage, DON'T SPEAK TO WHO IS ON THE STAGE. If the comic wants you to be part of the show, he or she will make you part of the show.

10.) If you get the urge to lash out? Please, just stop..... Laugh when the laughs come, smile and watch while the set up builds and you will quickly find you enjoy this breathe and release format of watching a comedy show. Resting so your imagination can go exactly where the comedian is intending it to allows you to fully enjoy the joke. Have fun, keep it cool and enjoy the show.

You can read the entire letter here.

Audience members took to twitter to express their disgust at the outbursts and heckling.

Reporter Gerald Witt attended Chappelle's 10 p.m. performances. Here's part of his first hand account:

"Some of the plain dumb things hollered from the audience included asking what Chappelle thought of Paula Deen, Africa and, of all things, white girls – among many, many other unnecessary outbursts. Some dude walked up to the stage and slapped five with Chappelle. And Candace, oh Candace, you’re single. I hope you find a boyfriend. Chappelle said her issue was a global issue Tuesday for the crowd: You talk too much.

"Chappelle engaged the hecklers. And I don’t blame him. I can assume the thinking goes like this, from his end – if you’re going to talk over my act, screw the act, we’ll do this.

"At one point, Chappelle said something like, 'I brought the fine China, but you want the paper plates.' Translation: You’re not a sophisticated audience."

You can read Gerald's entire piece here.

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Comments » 7

Rollingmyeyes writes:

Very embarrassing! Another reason why Knoxville is not a venue for big name performances.

joseph_mccarthy writes:

What a bunch of morons. So now we need bouncers at the Tennessee Theatre?

RockerDiva writes:

Alcohol sales have ruined the concert/show-going experience. It brings out bad behavior in many and causes too much disruption for the audience. If the venues need the revenue so badly, at least revise the policy and stop selling when the show starts or limit every patron to no more than 2 drinks. If you want to drink - go to a bar!

max0032 writes:

I hate that I made the news in this way through my tweet, but I was ashamed at the audience. I got to live plays, comedy shows, concerts, etc. I love that Knoxville has stepped up its game in entertainment and I feel like we just took two steps back. Sounds like second show was just as back as the first show I attended.

voyagerdjc248#254895 writes:

It is the alcohol sales.
I have witnessed the drunks with the arm-bands heckling singers trying to sing, climbing on seats, whistling, singing at the top of their lungs, on and on. All while drinking non-stop and constantly going in and out to the bathroom during shows.
The people entrusted with the care of our beautiful Tennessee Theatre should all be fired! They are not doing their jobs.
NO ALCOHOL SALES AT THE TENNESSEE THEATRE.

rainbow6 writes:

Who is Dave Chappelle? And also who cares?

max0032 writes:

It's not the alcohol sales. The show lasted 2 hours. They were unruly from square one. I'm not arguing with this anti-drinking state...but you don't get drunk and unruly 45 minutes after buying a drink at the theatre. If it is the alcohol at all, it is happening before they arrive.

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