Dave Chappelle had the audience laughing during his entire standup set at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans Friday. At the beginning of his set he mentioned comedian Hannibal Buress had opened for him the night before. "You know — the guy who accidentally killed Bill Cosby?" said Chappelle.
Buress called Cosby a rapist in October, bringing a renewed focus to multiple allegations of sexual assault against Cosby. As the evening continued, Chappelle peppered his set with occasional Cosby references.
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On Thursday, Chappelle had told the audience a story about how he had been choked by a policeman while filming a movie years ago in New Orleans. During Friday's set he brought up the media attention the story had garnered and said the police "choked me out." He said the incident happened in 1992. "I wasn't like, 'Why is this happening?'" said the comedian, "I was just like, 'Oh, here we go.'" Then he added that some white people in the audience looked surprised.
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Chappelle pointed out that that back in the nineties, New Orleans had one of the most corrupt police departments in the country. He said that this was also when the city's police were not paid very well. "I'm not defending the police," said Chappelle, to clarify.
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The night was filled with racial commentary — Chappelle's set included references to Ray Rice, Donald Sterling, Paula Deen and Ebola. "I thought racism was over, but it's not," said Chappelle at one point in the night, saying that current events make it seem like African Americans are returning to the racial "hot seat." "We had a good run," he joked during another point.
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Toward the end of the night, Chappelle's jokes centered around his life as a family man. He casually smoked on stage and delivered jokes that had punch lines weaving across multiple storylines, some of which paid off when one least expected. He walked off stage to a standing ovation as his fans filtered out, repeating his jokes and laughing to themselves.