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Dave Chappelle is putting cellphones on lockdown at Mandalay Bay

Mandalay Bay Events Center will be a #nocellzone for Dave Chappelle’s show on May 5.

No selfies, no emojis, no “Intense #DaveChappelle action” for this one.

Chappelle is banning cellphones from his return to the Strip. Fans are directed to either leave the phones behind (in their vehicles, at home or hotel rooms) or lock them away in a “locked pouch,” as described in a Live Nation news release. Chappelle has previously enlisted San Francisco tech company Yondr to supply these devices to fans as they enter the venue.

Fans place their cellphones in to the pouch, which disables the device until it is freed at an unlocking station near the arena entrance. Yondr also represents Justin Timberlake, Louis C.K. and Guns N’ Roses. But Chappelle is the first to enforce the use of these pouches at a ticketed event in Las Vegas.

Chappelle has complained about the distraction of fans either recording his show on video, taking photos or otherwise communicating during his act. In an L.A. Weekly story from March 2016, a Chappelle publicist is quoted: “(Chappelle) came to us last year out of frustration — his fans were increasingly filming, Snapchatting, Instagramming and posting content from his shows. Yondr has been with Dave at every show on his tour this year and there have been zero reports of an audience member using his/her cellphone to document his stand-up.”

Most comedy venues in Las Vegas ask that fans refrain from using cellphones during a performance, but fans wind up shooting and posting anyway. Carrot Top, with his bevy of props and strobes, is often shown during performance on Instagram and Twitter posts.

Brad Garrett, who operates his own comedy club at MGM Grand’s Underground promenade, says of Chappelle’s strict edict: “Part of me gets that, because we’re always working on material and we just don’t want to be recorded. We can say no photos or recording before every show, but people do it anyway.” Unless you’re Dave Chappelle.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section, and Fridays in Neon. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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