Comedian Dave Chappelle has always been known for doing things just a bit differently. The comic turned down a multi-million dollar gig with Comedy Central and retreated to Africa during his prime. Recently, he has returned to his joke-telling ways. However, with the advent of social media and pocket-sized digital cameras, Chappelle is working on trying to make sure his sets don't end up on the Internet.
For a few years now, Chappelle has banned the use of cell phones at his performances all over the country. If a comic goer is caught with one out, they were usually escorted out of the building. But now he is taking things a step further. For his 13 shows in Chicago that are sold out, the comedian has partnered with tech startup Yondr.
Yondr makes small pouches that lock when the pouch is inside a designated "no phone zone." When you leave the zone, the pouch unlocks, allowing access to your device again. For the venue who uses Yondr, customers go through a check-in process and are asked to place their smartphone into one of the pouches.
The idea of having phones and other handheld devices removed from a concert or performance is certainly something I would like to see. We were recently fortunate enough to attend a private concert with Maroon 5, and there were hundreds of people with their hands in the air, holding up iPhones and tablets, capturing the show. These people were spatially unaware to their surroundings and were watching the event through the device rather than looking 15 feet in front of them at the performers. Things like that have always been a pet peeve of mine.
And while I'd like to see a world where that didn't have to exist, the ability to access one's phone in an emergency situation is something that is crucial, and by law is non-negotiable in some states. Yondr may not be the perfect answer, but it certainly has tried to address the question. You can still sneak a second phone in, or put a burner phone in a pouch.
What do you think? Is Yondr going too far? Should performers simply ban devices and refuse to perform if they are out? Sound off in the comments below.