Eight years ago, Dave Chappelle, one of the best comedians of the past 30 years, walked away from his massively successful and wildly popular Comedy Central sketch show Chappelle’s Show, skipping off to Africa to get as far away from show biz as possible. He’s only recently returned to stand-up comedy, and his few-and-far-between appearances often pop up with little notice; this one was announced just a week in advance. A live Chappelle performance, filled with long-winded but incisive monologues and provocative racial satire, promises either brilliance (see his 2000 stand-up special Killin’ Them Softly) or petulance; Chappelle notoriously cut short an August set in Hartford, Conn., after confronting hecklers. We’re hoping for the former, so please don’t buy tickets just to throw old Chappelle’s Show catchphrases at him, OK? And if you’re thinking of doing that, please go purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. Chappelle performs at the Township Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are $55. Call 576-2350 or visit thetownship.org for more information.
There are only 13 shopping days left until Christmas, meaning you’d better hop to it if you don’t want your sweetie to fill your Christmas stocking with coal, if you know what we mean. (We mean your sweetheart will poop in your socks. That’s a thing people do, right?) The merchants of Devine Street are keeping their doors open from 5 to 8 p.m. for A Devine Night Out for festive cheer — but mostly to accommodate your holiday slacking (and to gather donations for the American Red Cross). Henry’s holds the afterparty from 8 to 10 p.m. For more information, visit devinestreetcolumbiasc.com.
The last time Eight Days saw a singing Christmas tree … well, let’s just say we had too much eggnog. Eight Days’ functional alcoholism aside, The Singing Christmas Tree is a yuletide institution in Columbia, with a 125-person choir, a 30-piece orchestra and a dramatization of the Christmas story. The tree starts singing at 7 p.m. at Shandon Baptist Church; admission is free. Call 782-1300 or visit christmasatshandon.com for more information.
Hide the eggnog — Mrs. Cratchit’s getting ratchet. Workshop Theatre opens Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, a playfully cracked take on Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, at 8 p.m.; tickets are $10. (Note: Leave Tiny Tim at home, as this production is for mature audiences.) Call 799-4876 or visit workshoptheatre.com for more information.
Last, but certainly not least, in the Capital City’s Nutcracker gauntlet is Columbia City Ballet’s performance of the Christmas standard; it opens today with 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances at the Koger Center. Be prepared: Artistic director William Starrett takes great pride in the amount of snow involved in the winter scene. Tickets run from $13 to $33. Visit columbiacityballet.com for more information.
We’re not sure that one can really see a starry night in Five Points, what with all the streetlights and neon bar signs. We digress: Five Points celebrates the season with its A Starry Night in Five Points shindig, which features performances from the Unbound Dance Company, a pop-up Christmas tree farm, a Salvation Army toy drive and refreshments and holiday sales at many Five Points storefronts. A Starry Night runs from 4 to 7 p.m. — hey, it’s barely even dark then! Visit fivepointscolumbia.com for more.
Just hear those sleigh bells jingling: The South Carolina Philharmonic performs a Holiday Pops concert at Harbison Theatre at 2 p.m.; the orchestra will play scores from popular holiday movies, Christmas carols, and more. Tickets are $26. Just picture Morihiko dashing through the snow: Visit harbisontheatre.org for more information.
Upon hearing the “Hallelujah Chorus” of Handel’s Messiah, King George II of England was reputedly so overcome with emotion — ALL OF THE FEELS, YOU GUYS — that he spontaneously rose to his feet. It’s why people stand during the “Hallelujah Chorus” now. Point being: Trinity Episcopal Cathedral mounts a performance of Messiah at 4 p.m.; tickets are $20. Visit trinitysc.org or call 771-7300 for more information.
And just because you haven’t memorized Handel’s Messiah — it’s comprised of 53 separate movements in three parts; Eight Days doesn’t even think Handel memorized Handel’s Messiah — doesn’t mean you can’t participate in the annual Sing-Along Messiah at 7 p.m. at Washington Street United Methodist Church. Sheet music will be provided if the only words you know are the ones to the “Hallelujah Chorus.” The concert is free and open to the public, even to those who can’t carry a tune in a bucket — but if you can’t Eight Days’d like to politely ask you to simply sit back and enjoy the music. OK? OK. For more information, call 256-2417 or visit singalongmessiah.org.
According to The Simpsons, Branson, Mo., is like Las Vegas if it were run by churchy do-gooder Ned Flanders. Branson on the Road brings its touring country Christmas show to the Newberry Opera House for two shows at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; tickets are $25. Visit newberryoperahouse.com for tickets and more infromation.
Did you miss the live simulcast of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series performance of Verdi’s Falstaff? Hey, Eight Days did, too. There’s an encore broadcast at 6:30 p.m. at Regal Columbiana Grande 14 and Regal Sandhill Stadium 16 for us slackers. Tickets are $24; call 736-1896 for more information.
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