Probably the most epic night in comedy happened and you had no idea it occured. On February 27th, 2013 a few of our generation’s most talented comedians all shared a stage at the Comedy Cellar in NYC. Dave Chappelle had a surprise set at the famed comedy club and invited a few special guest that were in the city at the time which included comedy’s new “IT” man Kevin Hart, the now Elder Statesman Chris Rock, ?uestlove of the Mighty Roots band, Marlon Wayans and Bill Bellamy. It turned into the six friends having a impromptu roast/love-fest/improv session that would break records if aired on tv or sold on blue-ray I’m sure. What also makes this such a big deal is the fact that all these egos got on one stage and shared the spot light. With Dave Chappelle about to have his return to the big stage in these next coming days at Radio City Music Hall the good people over at GQ asked each person involved how did this epic night even happen. Read the quotes from each of the guys:
Chris Rock: Dave is like Prince.
Marlon Wayans: Like Bigfoot. You know he exists, but he’s the hardest guy to lock down.
Chris Rock: You never know when he’s going to show up. That night was a comedy booty call from Dave. [in Chappelle’s voice]”I’m in town, man! You should come on down!” Dave’s my favorite comedian. So…
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson: I was on a date in Brooklyn, and I was trying not to look at my phone, but I heard a beep and saw the name Rock: “I’m down here at the Cellar. Chappelle’s going on in twenty minutes.” That was the fastest “Check, please!” I’ve ever said in my life.
Marlon Wayans: I was out with Bill [Bellamy] after a Knicks game and hit Kevin [Hart] up. He was in town to host SNL. He was like, “Yo, I’m at the Comedy Cellar. Chappelle and Rock are here.” I was like, “Word. Let’s go.
Kevin Hart: Chris does his set, and when he comes off the stage, Dave comes in. So me and Chris went and sat in the back to watch.
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson: Chappelle gets up and riffs for forty-five minutes about—who’s the guy with the prosthetic legs? Oscar Pistorius? Dave was talking about how Pistorius would be the least vulnerable guy in prison, because all he has to do is scrape his legs on the steel bars every night. He started making this sharpening noise, and we were just done, all of us.
Kevin Hart: Me and Chris were joking about how Dave was just so much better than us—the thought process behind his jokes. How he makes it look effortless. We were all doing the same thing—running material we were working on. We were pretty much all in the gym—basketball players getting our jump shots. And Dave’s way of doing it was just levels above. He’s in a different realm. He’s out of this world, man. Ridiculous.
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson: one by one, he just called them up, kind of like the Harlem Globetrotters’ Magic Circle.
Bill Bellamy: Kevin Hart walks out. And here comes Chris Rock. People go goddamn crazy. Then Dave was like, “Who else is in here?” That was rich. So then me and Marlon come up. And we just start passing the microphone, telling stories about each other. It was a Black Pack moment.
Marlon Wayans: The stage is small as all hell. It’s like—put it this way, my house growing up in the projects probably was slightly bigger than that stage. Thank God there wasn’t ten of us on it.
Kevin Hart: We started telling about some of the first things that we did with one another, the first times that we met. We were segueing between each other. Someone’s talking about Bill’s Peppermint Lounge and how people used to go over there and bomb.
Bill Bellamy: It was organic. I knew it was magical, based on the reactions of the people at the Cellar. They were like, “Oh, my God!” I told a story about one time, Dave was standing outside my club looking lost, just a little skinny kid from D.C., not famous yet. And he needed a ride home. And I gave him a ride back to New York. I had this real fly car at the time, a brand-new Acura, and he was like, “Man, when I get rich, I’ve got to get me one of these.”
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson: Chris was very quiet—just wisely playing the back. He played it real cool, and then when he had a moment, he said what he had to say, and it was hilarious.
Chris Rock: I’m a hanger backer, anyway, in life. I’m the oldest of seven. So I’m used to letting my younger brothers do whatever they’re gonna do. I was literally just enjoying the moment. You know, we’re not musicians. We’re not in a band. Comedians, if you get good, you’re always out there by yourself. Stand-ups are boxers. They generate the most excitement of anyone in sports, and they have the saddest endings. People wonder why guys get really famous and stop doing stand-up. It’s fucking lonely. The times that you’re onstage with somebody of your level of success are very rare. The other thing is we’re all grown-ups. If this had happened twenty years earlier, there might have been a fight onstage. But now everybody’s been married. Everybody has kids. Divorces. We’re all very secure in who we are. That was an essential element. The evening would not have happened without that.
Dave Chappelle: I had no idea all those guys were going to be there. You know, comedy is surprisingly competitive. It’s like being in the Karate Kid tournament every night. I’ve known these guys for years and have always respected their talent, but on that night I got to experience it up close. That’s why it was special. But it made me laugh that Ahmir told his date he needed to go to the studio. Why didn’t he just bring her to the show?
Read the full story over at GQ