Dave Chappelle Has Created a No-Phone Zone for His Performances. Here's How.
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How it works: The venue in question must map out its "phone-free zone" by setting up locking stations. Entering Thalia Hall, each attendee will be handed a Yondr sleeve at the door, in the size that fits their phone. The phone goes in the sleeve, the sleeve is fastened and the device is locked upon entry into the hall – calls, texts, tweets, photos, videos and Internet are off-limits until the patron exits the theater. Then the phone is again accessible and Chappelle's material preserved for another audience.
"You can think of it like the idea of smoking versus nonsmoking sections," said Yondr founder Graham Dugoni, according to Newsweek. "And the case does absolutely nothing to digitally block people's phones. So if you're waiting for a call from the babysitter, for instance, you'll still feel your phone vibrate in your pocket, and then you can step out into the phone-use area and unlock it."
The purpose of Yondr, according to its website, is "to show people how powerful a moment can be when we aren't focused on documenting or broadcasting it." Digital Trends reported, "The company has the capacity to accommodate up to 20,000-person events, which is above the size of many professional basketball stadiums."
Comedians vs. smartphones: In a November 2014 interview published on Vulture, Chris Rock spoke about his wariness of performing in front of a room full of smartphones. "If you think you don't have room to make mistakes," Rock said, "it's going to lead to safer, gooier standup. You can't think the thoughts you want to think if you think you're being watched."
Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock are smart. This is a good idea.