Thanks to the people at GQ Magazine we finally get a chance to find out how an epic night of comedy took place at New York’s Comedy Cellar in 2013. The night started off as usual for those in attendance but turned into something special when Chappelle, Chris Rock, Marlon Wayans, Kevin Hart, Quest Love, and Bill Bellamy all showed up. Check out a piece of the story as each of them share their version of how the night happened.
It was a routine Wednesday at the Comedy Cellar in N.Y.C….until Dave Chappelle dropped in for a surprise set. The unicorn of comedy then proceeded to invite a few famous audience members onstage for what morphed into a kind of roast/toast/love-in/improv session—and an instant classic in the annals of funny. On the eve of Chappelle’s five-night run at Radio City this month—his biggest professional moment in more than a decade—we asked the guys who were there that night (including the unicorn himself) a simple question: How the hell did this happen?
Chris Rock: Dave is like Prince.
Marlon Wayans: Like Bigfoot.
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…
Questlove: I was on a date, 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. I lied to my date and said I’d been called into the studio.
Bellamy: Kevin Hart walks out. And here comes Chris Rock. Then Dave was like, “Who else is in here?” That was rich. So then me and Marlon come up. People go goddamn crazy. And we just start passing the microphone, telling stories about each other. It was a Black Pack moment.
Kevin Hart: That crowd got something money can’t buy. They got authenticity.
Bellamy: But we all had our moment to say how much we love and appreciate each other’s talent. It wasn’t a roast. It was a tribute.
Rock: And it’ll never happen again. There’s no Coachella of comedy where we all get together, you know?
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?