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Dave Chappelle announces last-minute, surprise shows at Denver’s Comedy Works

Tickets to the phone-free performances sold out in less than an hour

Host and comic Dave Chappelle appears on stage during his “Saturday Night Live” monologue on Nov. 12, 2016. He’s headed to Denver for another round of surprise shows at Comedy Works on Larimer Square. (Provided by NBC)
Host and comic Dave Chappelle appears on stage during his “Saturday Night Live” monologue on Nov. 12, 2016. He’s headed to Denver for another round of surprise shows at Comedy Works on Larimer Square. (Provided by NBC)
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Mega-comic Dave Chappelle will play a half-dozen last-minute shows at Comedy Works’ 300-seat downtown location April 5-7, according to an announcement on the stand-up club’s website.

Chappelle, who has sold out Red Rocks Amphitheatre for his birthday shows in the past, visits Denver on and off to play surprise shows at Comedy Works — which also instantly sell out. He came up playing the roughly 300-seat club and has a friendship with owner Wende Curtis, he has said. That’s why he likes to choose such a tiny venue in relation to his audience draw, working out new material in the same way that big comics often visit New York’s Comedy Cellar.

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Ticket prices are commensurate with Chapelle’s stature: $156 each, and available first to Comedy Works subscribers. They went on sale at 10:30 a.m. Monday, according to comedyworks.com, and sold out in less than an hour.

As with past shows, Chappelle is asking patrons to leave their cell phones at home. He has been instrumental in testing the Yondr technology, which puts patrons’ cell phones in magnetically locked bags until the show has concluded. Other comics, such as Chris Rock, have gone on to use it at much larger Denver stand-up shows, including at Bellco Theatre.

“Please leave your phones in your cars or at home,” Comedy Works officials wrote. “Everyone is subject to a pat down. Anyone caught with a cell phone inside the venue will be immediately ejected and no refund given.”

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Chappelle’s jokes have sparked controversy in recent years as he’s repeatedly hammered home his criticisms of the trans community, mocking the fundamental notion that gender is fluid.

Employees of Netflix, which regularly airs his new specials, staged a walkout in protest of his views in October. In February, Chappelle announced that his classic sketch series, “Chappelle’s Show,” would return to Netflix after Comedy Central reportedly paid him for the rights. Netflix then said it would release four upcoming comedy specials this year executive produced and hosted by Chappelle.

Chappelle also gained attention last month for supposedly trying to block an affordable housing project in his hometown of Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he’s become a local celebrity and investor. However, he reportedly pushed back against that in a statement via his spokesperson, arguing that, “Chappelle didn’t kill affordable housing. Concerned residents and a responding Village Council ‘killed’ a half-baked plan which never actually offered affordable housing.”

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