Stand-up comedian and Yang Gang member Dave Chappelle took home the Grammy last night for Best Comedy Album, beating fellow nominees Jim Gaffigan (Quality Time), Trevor Noah (Son of Patricia), Ellen DeGeneres (Relatable), and Aziz Ansari (Right Now) for the award with his 2019 Broadway show turned Netflix special Sticks & Stones. Unless you were watching the ceremony closely, it appeared that Chappelle wasn’t there to receive the award himself or give an acceptance speech, but it turns out that wasn’t exactly the case. Chappelle did, in fact, attend the show — just not for the part where he was supposed to take the stage.
In case you missed it, when the nominees were announced, a still of Chappelle from his special appeared rather than live footage of him in the audience. And when presenters Brandi Carlile and Tanya Tucker announced the win, they accepted the award on his behalf:
Thanks to eagle-eyed viewers on Twitter and photos from the ceremony, though, it’s now clear that Chappelle was very much in attendance last night. Here’s a photo of him backstage with fellow comedy nominee DeGeneres:
And here’s a photo of him sitting next to Carlile, one of the presenters who accepted the Best Comedy Album Grammy on his behalf:
So what happened exactly? When reached for comment, a representative for Chappelle explained his absence from the stage: “Wish I had a better answer, but it was nothing more than #LATraffic.” For what it’s worth, last night was the third consecutive year that Chappelle won Best Comedy Album at the Grammys — he won in 2018 for The Age of Spin and Deep in the Heart of Texas and in 2019 for Equanimity & the Bird Revelation — and the only award he gave an acceptance speech for was in 2018, which lasted just 30 seconds. Considering that, we have a feeling Chappelle wasn’t too bothered to miss out on the second quick “thank-you” speech in a row — or maybe he just exhausted all his public gratitude at the 2019 Mark Twain Prize ceremony, which he both received and showed up for.