UPDATED: With comments from one attendee who had a bird’s-eye view. According to promoter Live nation, tonight’s (Friday, Nov. 2) show is going on “as planned.”
Thursday night’s highly-anticipated Katt Williams concert came to a grinding halt last night after the controversial comedian jumped off stage at the Wells Fargo Theatre into the heckling audience and Denver Police joined his bodyguards to prevent a shoving match from turning into a brawl.
The late-starting and half-full show took a turn when, after six opening comedians, Williams took the stage shortly before 11 p.m. and engaged in a series of bizarre behaviors. He did push-ups, took his shirt off, poured water on himself, mumbled his way through an intro and ultimately spit on a heckler whom he invited on stage. He then met the growing wave of heckling in the audience by jumping off stage and apparently attempting to track down one of the other hecklers, resulting in the shoving match between the heckler and Williams’ bodyguards.
“He just snapped,” said 39-year-old Denver resident Margaret Smith, who was at the show with her husband. “Everybody started calling him ‘Crack Williams’ because he was running around the stage like he was high on meth or crack or something.”
Amateur videos of the incident have been circulating online this morning, showing Williams yelling at one fan, “You better be glad the police helped you” after he left the stage for the audience. “You don’t heckle at a comedy show! You’re a pu**y!” Then, “Ah, the police got to me. How funny. Wow. Wow. That’s just how Malcolm X got shot.”
He then said he wanted to have musicians E-40, Too Short, New Edition and Xzibit on his show but that he “knew it wouldn’t work” and that his fears were confirmed by Thursday’s show. No word on whether those artists were ever contacted about being in Denver.
Williams ended his “set” after about about 25 minutes by saying everyone in the audience would get refunds. He has one more show — a sold out one — scheduled for tonight at the Wells Fargo Theatre. Representatives from promoter Live Nation have not responded to a request for a comment, but we’ll update you with any refund or cancellation news.
It was a “sad and emotionally terrorizing display,” according to Westword writer and Williams fan Bree Davies, who reviewed the debacle online today.
One attendee, Brian Allen Peagler, wrote an open letter to Ticketmaster and Live Nation on Facebook:
“By now I’m sure that Live Nation and Ticketmaster have been informed of the fiasco that occurred during the Katt Williams show at the Wells Fargo Theatre on November 1, 2012. I am extremely disappointed in the performance (or lack thereof) by the artist that I paid $147.00 to see. It’s not clear (nor would I expect it to be) what the refund policy is for a performance where the artist chooses not to deliver, but I am requesting a refund specifically because the artist is quoted as saying that everyone was entitled to one. To me, that sounds like the artist is willing to forfeit a portion of their earnings in the hopes of retaining the fans that wanted to see the full performance.”
Williams has had a history of run-ins with the law the last few years, from gun charges to fights, theft and trespassing. Read our interview with him, which ran in yesterday’s Denver Post Lifestyles section, and check back here for updates from Live Nation.
Here’s the full account from attendee Margaret Smith:
I think it would have been an all-out brawl if his bodyguards and the police hadn’t stepped in, because everybody started crowding around him after he jumped off stage. My husband and I followed what happened at the Aurora movie theater shooting and how it was total chaos in there, and that was making us (nervous). But I don’t know what was wrong with Katt last night. He came on the stage and started performing one of his songs, and the next thing you know he’s pouring water on himself, spraying Febreze air freshener and just running all over the stage. It was crazy and it wasn’t a normal performance or anything.
I was just like, “OK, maybe he’s warming up before he starts his act.” And he got heckled in the audience by somebody in the first section, then somebody in the middle section heckled him. And any professional comedian would have taken that heckle and ran with it. Not him. He got outrageously mad. He started reciting a free verse poem toward the heckler and he started doubting Denver and the Broncos, and I was like, “For real?” That’s when people started getting mad and upset and booing him.
So he challenged the guy who heckled him to come on stage and say what was on his mind. And when the guy came on stage Katt must have taken a swallow of water or something because he spit on him. And I was like, “Oh my God, that’s so gross.” Then he jumped down off the stage and came into the audience and two of his bodyguards came with him, and he was telling them something. We were in the third section but right there by the stage, section 3, row 11, so it was pretty close. And the guy came back and tried to challenge him and the bodyguards go in the way and pushed the guy, and the guy pushed back.
Then the ushers came running own and the police came running down and everybody started applauding the police to come down and stop it. Then, when you see in the video footage, he got mad got up on stage said everybody “Everybody getting their money back! Everybody getting their money back!” And everybody was so upset. I haven’t had a chance to call Ticketmaster today but I sure hope I get my money back. His opening acts were fine. They came out after the show started late, it was supposed to be 8 but it was 8:30. Katt came out and introduced himself, and please excuse me, as Big Pussy. He was introducing his opening acts, like John Witherspoon came out, which was great. But when it came time for (Katt) to come out it was just like, “Wow, we’ve never seen this side of Katt Williams.”
I don’t know if he was trying to to do something weird or promote his new cuts off his album or what. He just snapped, everybody started calling him “Crack Williams” because he was running around the stage like he was high on meth or crack or something. He up got and started free versing and putting people down. Any other professional comedian, they would have taken the heckle and turned it around to that person. It’s on the video what he said about refunds, and hope they abide by it, because there’s going to be a lawsuit. People were talking about calling their layers at the box office. It was like a bad scene in a movie when everybody was leaving the theater. We were like “We paid $150 dollars (for two tickets) for this?”
We go to comedy shows a lot. I’ve been to Mike Epps, Kevin Hart. We go to the Improv and Comedy Works. And my husband, who didn’t want to go at first, was like, “Come on, let’s go.” But I would never see him again, especially after he spit on someone? That’s just disrespectful. Body fluids? That’s nasty. That came from out of your mouth you never spit at someone no matter how mad you are at them.”