After more than a decade out of the spotlight, legendary comedian Dave Chappelle is back in full form with this week’s release of not one, but 2 stand-up specials on Netflix. Chappelle is unsurprisingly hilarious and proves he still has a one-of-a-kind comedic insight.
But Dave’s also a father, and everyone knows dad stories are how you close a set. Chappelle’s best bits comes at the end of The Age of Spin. He tells a story about his son that’s endemic to fatherhood: your kid will decide you’re not cool anymore. To make matters worse, Chappelle’s son spurns his father for fellow stand-up Kevin Hart, who’s kind of taken Chappelle’s place during his public absence.
The bit begins with Chappelle’s son asking him for $250. Since he’s only 12, Chappelle was suspicious and asks, “What’s going on? Is someone trying to kill you?” His son tells him it’s for tickets to an upcoming Kevin Hart show, and he wants to take his dad. Chappelle is obviously touched by this — but envious AF that Hart’s tickets not only cost more, but he’s more beloved. (At least he’s not being asked to go to a Nick Cannon concert.)
“Kevin takes the stage. Crowd goes f—ing nuts. Thousands of people. I was furious,” Chappelle says.
Then Dave sees his son busting up laughing and realizes that he thinks Hart is funnier than his old man. Once the show is over, Chappelle reluctantly agrees to go backstage to meet Hart.
Hart doesn’t just meet and greet, but invites Chappelle and son to eat dinner with him. Hart gives the kid a custom jersey and tells him, “Hey, little man, I want you to have this. If your father ever makes you mad, just put that on.” It’s a cold move.
Sure, it’s a bit and Dave and Kevin are friends, but as a parent, you can relate to Chappelle in this moment. The unfunny truth is that no how funny, smart, or just generally badass you are, there’s going to come a time when your kid thinks you’re the most embarrassing dad. You may be level-headed on the outside about the whole thing, but it will make you “f—ing furious.”
So take some solace in the fact that even one of the most successful comedians of all time isn’t seen that way by his own child. Here’s to Dave Chappelle: A man just like you, desperately seeking the approval of his kid only to have it ripped away by someone else.