Box Office Insider: Dave Chappelle’s Radio City Stand

Dave Chappelle
Gerald Herbert/AP, file
– Dave Chappelle
Performing at the Essence Festival in New Orleans.

Arenas and stadiums have been common themes in recent Box Office Insider stories, but theatres also account for a huge chunk of concert industry revenues, so this week we delve into the details for one of 2017’s highest-profile comedy events: Dave Chappelle’s star-studded residency at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

The run at the iconic NYC venue consisted of 16 gigs in the month of August, with each night featuring special guest co-headliners like Kendrick Lamar or Erykah Badu and many more opening acts. Every show was reportedly completely sold out.

In total, the run moved a reported 93,715 tickets and grossed a reported $11,496,203, which evens out to an average of $718,512 per show, though certain lineups took the stage for multiple nights and are counted as one entry in a Pollstar Box Office report. The cheapest tickets were only available on select nights at $53 and the high end peaked at $193.

The first four gigs Aug. 1-4 featured Chappelle co-headlining with The Roots, with Lil Wayne, Wil Sylvince and Donnell Rawlings opening. After that there were two nights with Chris Rock Aug. 5-6, with Jeffrey Ross, T.I., and Amy Schumer on the undercard. Besides those first six shows, each subsequent event featured a unique lineup.

The complete list of coheadliners runs long and varied and includes some major star power: Ali Wong, John Mayer, Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def, Solange, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Childish Gambino, Trevor Noah, Chance The Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, Leslie Jones, Michael Che, Colin Jost, Erykah Badu, Chris Rock and The Roots.

The openers commanded some serious attention on their own: Lil Jon, Donnell Rawlings, Ashley Barnhill, Talib Kweli, Chris Tucker, Jerry Seinfeld, DJ Trauma, Pete Holmes, Mo Amer, Wil Sylvince, Hannibal Buress, Cipha Sounds, Jon Stewart, Neal Brennan, Pete Davidson, Marlon Wayans, Cedric The Entertainer, Jeffrey Ross, T.I., Amy Schumer, and Lil Wayne all appeared in at least one show.

Capacity for each show varied slightly depending on who was performing, with the largest shows accommodating 5,927. The smallest shows were the opening two with Hill, fitting 5,686. The average attendance per show was 5,857.

Dave Chappelle has been widely recognized as one of the leading voices in comedy, though he did famously take a break from performing and creating new content. He was riding high with “Chappelle’s Show” in the early 2000s, until he walked away from it all, famously turning down tens of millions of dollars. Our records for his tour history suddenly end in 2006, and don’t pick up again until 2011.


The comedian also did a run of ten shows at Radio City in 2014, half of which featured Nas. Those gigs grossed him nearly $5 million and moved almost 60,000 tickets, both impressive figures in their own right, but dwarfed by this year’s endeavor.

Dave is now definitely back, as he released a two-part special through Netflix earlier this year and toured the country, playing in Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo., and holding court at The Tabernacle in Atlanta for seven shows in a row.

While are still awaiting on reports for a few more shows from Chappelle, he was one of only two comedians to crack the top 20 in Pollstar’s Global Concert Pulse chart for Dec. 11 (the other being Jerry Seinfeld). While it is still too soon to make any definitive statements, Chappelle looks likely to finish behind Seinfeld in our 2017 Year End Top 100 Tours chart based on volume of shows, though ticket prices for both acts are very close: Seinfeld’s reported average ticket price on the Pulse was $121 and Chappelle’s was $122.