Chris Rock’s Strict Prohibition of Cell Phone Use During Comedy Tour Excites Some, Upsets Others

"No cellphones, cameras or recording devices will be allowed at Chris Rock's Total Blackout Tour."

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chris rock cell phones
Chris Rock isn’t a fan of folks recording his shows and ruining his punchlines.(Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Chris Rock’s “Total Blackout Tour” is continuing in Europe throughout January but if you’re hoping to catch some footage online, you’re out of luck. The comic has instituted a strict “no phones” policy during the shows, as outlined on his official website.

“No cell phones, cameras or recording devices will be allowed at Chris Rock’s Total Blackout Tour,” the statement said. “Upon arrival, all phones and smartwatches will be secured in Yondr pouches that will be unlocked at the end of the show. Guests maintain possession of their phones throughout the night, and if needed, may access their phones at designated Yondr unlocking stations in the lobby. … Anyone caught with a cellphone in the venue will be immediately ejected. We appreciate your cooperation in creating a phone-free viewing experience.”

Rock is reported to be sick of his routines getting uploaded to social media websites. Instead, he wants people to focus on enjoying the show.

“There is also the added problem for comedians who spend months polishing their performances to a high state of hilarity only to have their punchlines shared in advance by illegal recordings of their show,” he said according to the Evening Standard.

But the move — which has also been launched by fellow comic Dave Chappelle and singer Alicia Keys — hasn’t been celebrated by all. Chris Penman attended a “Total Blackout Tour” show in Glasgow, England and had pulled his phone out mid-performance to check on his father, who recently had heart surgery. He didn’t get to finish seeing the show.

“I must have only looked at it for about 15 seconds, no one was on stage and I held it discreetly on my lap, then I was approached by a guard,” Penman told The Scotsman Wednesday, Jan. 24. “My dad is in the heart transplant ward in the Golden Jubilee in a really bad way. I explained the full thing but they still said I had to leave. I couldn’t believe it. I’m still baffled today. It’s just extraordinarily petty and unreasonable.”

“I’m happy that my dad is doing better but I’m angry because my wife paid $197 for the tickets and we didn’t even get to see Chris Rock. It was the first night I’ve left my dad in weeks, and was supposed to be a bit of a break, but ended up completely ruined by this ridiculous situation.”

Yet many others enjoyed the screen-free experience.

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