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Dave Chappelle brings laughs, social commentary to Collins Center

Comedian Dave Chappelle brought his raucous style of comedy to the Collins Center for the Arts Wednesday night, Sept. 23.

After back-to-back shows in Portland Tuesday night, Chappelle made it up to Orono with his opening act, fellow “Chappelle Show” actor Donnell Rawlings.

With a cigarette in hand for nearly the entire night, Chappelle took on the high-profile social issues of the last year, targeting everyone from Caitlyn Jenner and transsexuals to race relations in the United States.

Rawlings’ opening set covered a wide range of topics, including his family and his time in the Air Force. A new father, Rawlings chronicled his struggle with being in the delivery room and the trials and tribulations that come with being a dad.

Chappelle came out after Rawlings’ 30-minute routine to a standing ovation that carried on to the point that Chappelle had to ask everyone to be seated. He started off by roasting Orono, admitting that he had “never heard of it before” and shaking his head at the fact that he hadn’t seen another African-American since arriving in town.

He bounced back and forth between serious social commentary and jokes, supporting the LGBT community but asking, “to what extend do I have to participate in your self-image?” He comes across as an everyday man, more amused with the changing the world around him than a cynic.

“I’d watched him before and I think he’s well-informed in his jokes,” David Guerra, a student at the University of Southern Maine, said. “They’re not just blank, out-of-the blue jokes.”

Chappelle went back-and-forth with audience members sporadically, responding to fans who yelled quotes from “Chappelle’s Show” at him. He took aim at comedy duo Key and Peele, responding to audience members’ shouts by saying, “We’re not doing that tonight. If you want to see that you can watch Key and Peele.” He went on to call their Comedy Central program “Chappelle Show Lite.”

Fans have been without Chappelle’s comedy for 10 years after he turned down $50 million for another season of his television show and disappeared from the spotlight.

“It was good to see him again doing his thing,” Lance Blackstone, a fan from Bangor, said. “I thought the whole thing was great.”

Rawlings ended the show fittingly during the final standing ovation, with one of the most famous quotes from “Chappelle’s Show.”

“I’m rich, b****!”

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