To paraphrase soul's great orator, James Brown, it's time to get off Dave Chappelle's back and let him do the popcorn. He must be allowed to be the sly, rude, observational stand-up we knew him to be before Chappelle's Show, the mega-successful Comedy Central sketch series he ended in 2005 with an abruptness that gave him an unwarranted rep for erratic behavior. The guy didn't want to have a career ruled by catchphrases familiar to Show fanatics. What's weird about that?
From the sight of a chain-smoking Chappelle at the Tower Theater on Saturday, the comic was as crudely on point with raunchy material (e.g. imitations of X-rated Lil Wayne) as he was with awesomely, surprisingly warm material about his wife and kids. He wasn't interested in short jabs with hard punch lines; he was all about the long story, the extended riff.