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Dave Chappelle banned cell phones at his Thalia Hall shows

Dave Chappelle banned cell phones at his Thalia Hall shows
Photograph: Chris Schwegler

Dave Chappelle's run of 13 shows at Thalia Hall kicked off last night, but don't expect to find any clips of his performance online—cell phone use is not permitted inside the venue during Chappelle's residency. The staff at the Pilsen venue aren't turning phone-wielding people away at the door, though. Instead, security at Thalia Hall is providing Yondr cases, a small pouch that attendees must place their phones in before carrying them into the venue. The cases lock upon entering to the venue and can only be unlocked when an attendee leaves the performance area. It's a pretty slick way to prevent mid-show Facebook updates, tweets and illicit recordings without confiscating every mobile device.

Here's what these suckers look like:

The move to ban phones is a wise move for Chappelle. Thalia Hall is an intimate space compared to many of the venues where the comedian has performed—it's far smaller than the 6,000-plus capacity at Radio City Music Hall, where he completed a 10-night residency in June 2014. Dozens of dingleberries watching a comedy set through their 4.7-inch screens is not only distracting, it also leads to Chappelle's jokes being leaked before his next comedy special debuts on HBO.

If you want to see Chappelle perform, you could try and score one of the handful of tickets that are left on Ticketmaster (as of Wednesday morning). After that, you're stuck with the secondhand market, which doesn't seem too promising considering that StubHub doesn't have any tickets listed for the remaining shows. 



Jessica T

Saw last night's show and it was amazing. I like the "cell phone jail" that was handed out.  I also liked the space that was created when everyone's phones were no longer an issue. Thalia Hall is an extremely intimate space, so not seeing a bunch of tiny screens everywhere was appreciated. Not having access to my phone turned out to be a positive experience. I could just enjoy the present moment of the show and not worry about checking emails, texts, and instagram notices. I hope Yondr takes off and is used in bigger venues and also movie theaters. 

Neal L

@Jessica T  did they do seats in thalia hall for this or still standing?  i agree about the phones and look forward to tonight's show!