Last Saturday August the 5th, I was fortunate enough to be present for the greatest comedic lineup ever assembled.
Kevin Hart. Chris Rock. Dave Chappelle.
Dave Chappelle has taken over Radio City Hall for this entire month of August, performing alongside the likes of Childish Gambino, Ice Cube, Common, The Roots, Lil Wayne, Usher, Trevor Noah, Hannibal Burress, Leslie Jones, Michael Che, Solange, John Mayer, Talib Kweli, and Mos Def.
Every single night boasts a star-studded performance with guest appearances from juggernauts from the worlds of music and comedy.
The night I attended, Dave was slated to perform alongside Chris Rock. But for the price of 2 superstars, we actually got 4. Guest comics Kevin Hart and Amy Schumer took the audience by surprise when they came out, performed full sets, and rocked the crowd.
And Jeffrey Ross, Comedy Central’s Roastmaster, was the host for the evening.
It was a legendary night to remember.
The staff locked away all of our cell phones as we entered the building to make sure that we didn’t record any of the comics’ unreleased material. And it’s a good thing they did. Because not having our phones forced us to give the stage our full attention.
And I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life.
Every comic who took the stage that night was on top of his or her game. They kept us laughing for the whole 4 hours. And I had goose bumps running through my body because I felt so inspired.
It was a once in a lifetime experience. I got the opportunity to watch some of the greatest comedians ever to walk this earth.
Here are my biggest insights from watching Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle perform on the same stage:
Surround Yourself with Winners and You Will Always Bring Your A-Game
Every comedian who took the stage that night was at his absolute best.
Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle each performed sets that were as good if not better than any of their other material. In fact, I personally believe Chris Rock’s set was his best material ever.
None of their jokes missed, failed to resonate, or went too far. None of the material was mediocre. And none of the comics performed any material that was less than their funniest.
By the time the night was over, my friends and I couldn’t pick who had the best performance. Each comedian knocked his set right out of the park.
And it makes perfect sense that none of the comics performed any weak or mediocre material that night. Because being in the presence of other legends forced them to come correct.
In 2016, Kevin Hart was the highest paid comedian in the world. He raked in $87 million dollars through doing massive shows at sold out stadiums and arenas across the country and the world.
Chris Rock has starred in countless movies, has hosted the Academy Awards twice in 2005 and 2016, recently inked a $40 million deal for 2 Netflix specials, and Comedy Central has ranked him as the 5th greatest stand-up comedian of all time.
Dave Chappelle’s television show from the early 2000’s is widely recognized as a classic. He recently inked a $60 million deal with Netflix for 3 stand-up specials. And younger comics like Katt Williams and Kevin Hart have often cited Dave as the greatest comedian of all time.
Every comedian who took the stage that night had already etched a spot for himself as one of the greatest comics of all time. They each knew that were in the presence of greatness. And they accordingly stepped their game up, came out with their best material, and kept the audience laughing hysterically for the whole 4 hours.
One of the biggest lessons I learned from being present for this legendary night was: always surround yourself with winners, hustlers, and legends. Because they will always keep you on your toes and push you to be your best in all situations.
The Greats Do It For The Passion, Never for the Money
As I sat in my floor-level seat watching Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle deliver some of the funniest material they have ever done in their lives, it hit me: These guys aren’t in this for money.
If Kevin, Chris, and Dave were only looking to earn as much money as possible, they would have lost their motivation a long time ago. Each of them already has all of the fame, accolades, recognition, and money in the bank account that they could ever ask for. They each have enough money that even if they never did another show or never earned another dime in their lifetimes, they could just move to the beach and comfortably relax for the rest of their lives.
So why? Why continue to pursue greatness in your 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s? Why not just go relax for the rest of your days on a yacht somewhere?
Passion. Nothing else explains it but passion. They each individually love lighting up audiences with joy, laughter, and inspiration because it’s who they are. And they continue to grow, improve, get better, and bring their A-game because comedy is the essence of who they are.
Dave Chappelle actually left the spotlight behind for 7 years between 2006 and 2013. But he eventually wound up returning to the limelight. How could he not? Comedy is the one craft that he truly loves more than anything else. It’s who he is.
And when something resonates with who you are, you don’t turn your back on it.
So watching these 3 perform was very insightful because Kevin, Chris, and Dave are clearly motivated by a deep love for comedy that has skyrocketed each of their careers into the stand-up hall of fame.
All 3 Headliners Built Their Careers From Nothing. Anything Is Possible
Nothing is more inspirational than witnessing someone rise out of poverty to create massive success for himself. That couldn’t be more true of the superstars who took Radio City Hall by storm last Saturday.
Each of them grew up in poverty. And as they reveal in their jokes, their careers were born from pain.
Dave Chappelle grew up in a lower-middle class upbringing in the Washington D.C. area. He jokes about being embarrassed to go over to his schoolmates’ houses because his family’s house was much smaller. And in a recent Breakfast Club interview, he admitted that he initially felt motivated to go into stand-up comedy at the age of 14 because many of his young D.C. friends had already lost their lives to violence and he wanted to go out and make his impact felt before it was too late.
As documented in the popular show, Everybody Hates Chris, Chris grew up in a working class neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn in New York. His mother was a teacher and social worker. His father was a truck driver and deliveryman. Rock took buses out to schools in more suburban neighborhoods where students ruthlessly bullied him. Chris later dropped out of school, worked many low-wage jobs at fast-food restaurants, and eventually earned his GED before he went into comedy.
As documented in his new book I Can’t Make This Up, Kevin Hart also had a tough upbringing. His strict single mother raised him out of an apartment in a blue collar neighborhood in Philadelphia. His brother was a troublemaker who sold drugs, joined gangs, and committed crimes. His father was a drug addict who had 11 kids with 6 different women and was barely present for Kevin’s childhood. And at one point, Kevin became shoe salesman at a local mall before he jumped into doing stand-up.
All three of their careers were born from pain. They came from a rock-bottom position in life where nobody expected them to win or make anything out of their lives. But instead of letting that pain break their spirit, they used it as motivation and material for their jokes.
They each have built multi-million comedic empires from nothing.
So I got goose-bumps as I watched this 4-hour hysterical show on Saturday August 5th. Because I knew that I was witnessing greatness. These self-made comedic superstars are proof that if you find a passion and make a lifelong commitment to persistently working at it, Anything Is Possible.
Make sure to click here to purchase tickets for one of Dave Chappelle’s 16 shows taking place at Radio City Music Hall throughout the month of August.
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Image source: taken at Radio City Hall event on August 6th 2017. No copyright infringement intended