Industry Weekly

[Legend Status]

Dave Chappelle returns, swinging for a knockout

Chappelle performs at Mandalay Bay Events Center in May 5.

Cinco de Mayo traditionally translates into a big fight weekend in Las Vegas. This year, it’s jokes, not punches, that mark the biggest happening on the Strip for the holiday weekend.

Dave Chappelle’s two, new hour-long comedy specials—The Age of Spin, shot at the Hollywood Palladium, and Deep in the Heart of Texas, from Austin City Limits—immediately became mandatory Netflix viewing when they were released on March 21. The bits on his multiple meetings with O.J. Simpson; skipping a benefit in Flint, Michigan, to attend the Oscars; the Care Bears’ ability to shoot love out of their chests; and the impossibility of reconciling the legacy of Bill Cosby all rank among his most thoughtful and hilarious work.

Whether or not you consider the specials and his current stand-up “tour” (after he plays Mandalay Bay Events Center, he’ll work an extended engagement at the Fillmore in Detroit) a real comeback, there’s no doubt Chappelle’s talent takes up a lot of space and leaves a formidable void when he’s not performing. The classic status of his Chappelle’s Show and his consistent excellence onstage makes this Cinco de Mayo ticket a must have—not unlike the biggest of big Vegas fights.

Dave Chappelle at Mandalay Bay Events Center, May 5.

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