Opening for Dave Chappelle in Seattle 2014 – Kortney Shane Williams

Opening for Dave Chappelle in Seattle 2014 – Kortney Shane Williams


I’ve had the opportunity to open for Dave Chappelle this week while he’s been in Seattle performing at the Neptune Theater, and it’s been great.

The sets and audiences have been great. I couldn’t really ask for more. Well, actually, I could ask all those people who like my act to come out to some of my shows. “And you know who you are.”

I have gotten a great reception. People have contacted me through my website and Twitter. I even had a guy ask me to describe one of my jokes that he didn’t understand. That was interesting and flattering. I actually explained the joke to him in an email. That’s something I never thought I would do. However, if he took time to email me, the least I could do is email him back. Plus I had to be able to tell that story.


I thought it would be surreal to open for Dave Chappelle, but it hasn’t really been that way. The actual shows are like every other show – except for the fact that they are packed and no one is there to see me – Other than that it reminds me of everything I’m used to. It also may have seemed more comfortable, because it’s the second year that I’ve gotten the chance to perform on the same stage with Dave (That’s evident by the previous sentence when I referred to him as, “Dave.”)

Last year when I opened for him we only spoke twice. Once he invited me and Mitch Burrow (A long lost friend of mine) in his green room to have drinks. The other time was after the last show when I thanked him for letting me open for him. Oddly enough while I was thanking him I noticed that Bill Burr was in the green room. That created a conundrum where I had to thank Dave while not dismissing Bill Burr. Under my breath I think I whispered, “Love your work. Oh no I was talking to Bill.”

However this year we spoke before every show. They were not deep philosophical conversations. They were the sort of chats I would have with any comic performing on a show. We talked about the Jimi Hendrix book I was reading and we talked about how we liked the Bobby Shmurda song. He is really cool, and I’m glad I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with one of the greatest comedians of all time.

I’ve learned a lot just watching Dave Chappelle work. I have so many take a ways, and things I’m going to use to make me a better comedian. I’ve always strived to be the greatest of all time, and this week of work with definitely help me get there.

And to think…I got paid to do this.


Kortney Shane Williams

Editor-in-Chief of Comedic Prose

Follow Kortney Williams on Twitter @kortneyshane

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