One of the happier moments from the now-viral video of Dave Chappelle’s ill-fated “Funny or Die” show in Hartford, Connecticut was the comedian’s conversation with a fan who came to the Comcast Theater on a mission.
Mack Mama is an entertainer, radio host and author who often brings copies of her book, Tales of an Original Bad Girl to concerts (“you just never know who might decide to read an excerpt.”) Once Chappelle had given up on trying to perform for the rowdy audience and decided to wait out his time on stage, the Brooklyn native seized the opportunity to connect with one of her favorite artists. Mack Mama presented the comedian with a copy of her book, which he began to read as he counted down the remaining minutes he was obligated to stay on stage. Chappelle was caught off guard when getting to a passage in which the buxom author mentions her time behind bars—she spent 13 years in prison. “I became the punch line to some witty, off-the-cuff jokes. I loved it,” she says. We caught up with the “bad girl” to hear a bit more about what happened that night, her riveting life story and why she feels Chappelle should give her an exclusive interview.
EBONY: Are you a big Dave Chappelle fan? Were you really excited to go see the show?
Mack Mama: I am a huge fan of Dave’s. When I was in prison, Chappelle’s Show used to come on at night. I would be up late in my cell cracking up. He got me thru a tough period in my life.
EBONY: What were your thoughts when you saw the audience? Did you see this happening—the booing and heckling—before it started?
MM: I figured it was going to get all the way turned up in that stadium. It is called the "Oddball Festival" for a reason. Thousands of stoned, drunk White folks, come on—it can’t get any rowdier than that. I was a chocolate drop in a sea of milk and felt the storm brewing.
To be honest, [there] was a lot of love in the building for Dave. It was a few hecklers that wanted the Half Baked version of Dave Chappelle, and he was giving up the 40-year-old mature comedic genius. He was misunderstood. The guy just wanted some respect. He did a great show in Austin, Texas and it was uninterrupted. Dave talked about why he left the game, personal life stories and the darker side of his life. That is what he was going to do in Hartford, until the drunken comments began spilling out. It was too much for him.
EBONY: How did you manage to get Dave's attention to get him to look at your book?
MM: I was sitting in the front row anticipating his arrival. I knew that I would get his attention to give him my autographed book. I had already given my other novel to Jeff Ross earlier in the show. He shouted me out on the stage, too.
Dave went above and beyond when he read a short excerpt and began joking around with me. I was in my glory. I am a ham and not in the least bit shy so I was game to be the butt of his jokes. It was all in good fun, and quite frankly, the audience needs to thank me, because, had I not handed him my book, he was going to sit and smoke until his time was over. No more jokes.
EBONY: How did other concert goers treat you that night?
MM: They loved me. I always get a lot of love [when I go out] because my energy is great. I had a ball and they felt my joy. I got congratulated and patted on my back. One man told me I made his night. Now, I don’t know if it was the big “tidday” joke that actually delighted him or not!
EBONY: Tell us a bit more about the Mack Mama story and what readers will learn from reading your book.
MM: My autobiography Tales of an Original Bad Girl is about the challenges I faced growing up in Fort Greene Projects, Brooklyn, New York. My mom died when I was sixteen, from AIDS and my life went down the tubes fast. I was angry and became a beast in the streets. I indulged in drugs, stole to survive, shot and cut people that betrayed me. Honestly, I had made an unconscious choice to ruin my life, because of the choices my mom had made with her life.
I used every excuse in the book to run rampart in the streets. My sister made the choice to be good. She had the same drug addicted mother, different dope fiend father, but [she] still managed to obtain her masters degree and become a social worker. It is all about the choices we make and how we choose to deal with adversities. I wrote my story to guide the at-risk youth—especially the girls—that are in gangs and feel like they have no way out.
EBONY: Do you think Dave will follow up with you?
MM: My goal is to get him on my Blog Talk Radio show as a guest. I would love to host [an] exclusive interview. I have interviewed many celebrity authors, entertainers and reality stars. I need a legendary comedian to complete my archives. I hope he calls me. I sure put my number in that book!
EBONY: What do you wish to achieve with your media career?
MM: To become a bestselling author and have my books become movies…I am eager to have a movie made about my life, the world needs to hear my story. It will save these troubled young girls a lot of grief. I speak to them at different venues, youth detention centers and such, but, it’s nothing like having a movie that they can pop in and say “If Mack Mama can change, after all she has been through, than so can I."
I would love to be on XM Radio…I intend to take my brand to the next level. I am an author/entertainer/radio-host and a motivational speaker. Most importantly I am a testament that you can achieve success at any level independently.