Owner Gary Abdo, who used to own Uptown Comedy Corner going back to the 1990s, has known Chappelle since 1994. He recalled seeing the comedy film “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” with Chappelle on a weekend he was performing at Uptown.
Abdo spent a month up in Ohio over the summer while Chappelle was hosting a bunch of big outdoor comedy shows featuring the likes of Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Tiffany Haddish, Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, Michael Che and Common. It was nicknamed Chappelle’s “summer camp.” (Marshall Chiles, owner of the Midtown Laughing Skull Lounge and running variety shows at Center Stage every weekend, also spent a few days in Ohio enjoying Chappelle’s company.)
“Just hung out,” Abdo said. “He is truly one of a kind. Everything was taken care of. Kayak trips, huge barbecues, high-end restaurant parties. I wasn’t allowed to pay for anything!”
Abdo said Chappelle’s team called him and offered to do shows at his theater. Abdo was pleasantly surprised and hopes it goes smoothly.
Chappelle will pay for COVID-19 testing of his staff and will use special pouches to keep smartphones so folks can’t record what’s happening. (He used the same pouches at the Tabernacle a couple of years ago.)