Yondr: The New Tech Co-Star at Dave Chappelle’s Shows

Comedian will use the new tech solution to make his performances phone-free zones

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Live performers can get testy about smartphones. Recently, Patti LuPone stopped dead in the middle of her show at Lincoln Center, got off stage, and went into the audience to take the phone out of the hands of an attendee who was obviously engaged more with his device than with her show. Other celebrities have complained about the disturbance of smartphones, as well. Comedian Dave Chappelle is now using a new tech solution called Yondr that will render a phone useless during his upcoming Chicago shows.

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Yondr is a case that locks a smartphone and prevents it from connecting to Wi-Fi or cellular service. Phone owners are provided the cases before entering a show area and instructed to place their phones inside. If the owner wants to make a call or text, they can relocate to an area within the venue designated for phone use and remove their phone from the Yondr case.

Hannibal Buress also uses Yondr, a decision he made after receiving death threats when the user-created video of his show, which included remarks about Bill Cosby being a rapist, went viral.

“It’s a huge thing for Chappelle, like all comedians–How to make the show phone-free,” Yondr founder Graham Dugoni told The Hollywood Reporter.

Yondr addresses the problem of making performances phone-free without having to confiscate audience members’ personal property. Yet, the technology has its critics:

so no way for the babysitter to call you in an emergency? guess all parents of young children will be skipping these venues for date nights, wrote Jon in response to GeekWire’s blog post on Yondr.

Wrong move. Those who roll with technology are the one’s that are going to benefit the most. Doing this only makes Chappelle look old and out of touch. Look at this as an opportunity, and even encourage it and offer contests by giving out hashtag, twitter handle, etc. for people to use when they share it. Free marketing, more fans, more poeple see you and hear your funny content = more people that will seek you out later when they want to see a live comedy show or purchase comedy content, opined Cody Cornett on TechCrunch’s article about Chappelle and Yondr.