Day Fifty-Seven: Questlove’s Wednesday Night

by Tom Noonan

So last night some stuff happened that makes the argument for time machines pretty convincing.  It all started when Questlove posted this on Instagram.  So we have a picture of Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Bill Bellamy, DAVID KHARI WEBBER CHAPPELLE, and Marlon Wayans.  Let’s digest Questlove’s caption piece by piece.

“I once sat in on drums with Prince on bass, Sheila E on percussion, Frank Mcomb on keys, Rachelle Ferrell on vocals doing Stevie Wonder’s catalogue”

Alright, so Questlove is just casually dropping this reference to a jam session that had Prince playing a background role.  That’s Prince,

PLAYING BASS.  But that’s probably just a total Questlove thing to get involved in.  Couldn’t possibly be more amazing than that.

“(who incidentally was also sitting in….with Joni Mitchell & Selma Hayek as our audience)”

THEY WERE PLAYING STEVIE WONDER COVERS FOR STEVIE WONDER.  This is what happens when you give Prince a cover band.  Then, of course, there’s the rest of their “audience”:

  1. Joni Mitchell
  2. Salma “It’s Spelled with Two A’s” Hayek

How were these invitations decided?  Joni Mitchell kind of fits in, because of the whole “she made Blue” thing, but SALMA HAYEK?  Who sent out that iMessage?  Also, why wasn’t Ms. Mitchell invited to play in Prince’s cover band?  They really sent her one of THREE invites just to sit in the audience?  They let Sheila E. be on “percussion”, which is pretty much a cover band participation medal, and they couldn’t even give Joni a tambourine? I can’t even begin to imagine how all of that came together.  Salma must’ve felt like Adam Morrison.

“and I *think* I might have felt as high as I did tonight.”

WAIT.  That Salma Hayek-attended Stevie Wonder Lifetime Honor Concert wasn’t the best night of your life?  Is that what you’re trying to tell me, Quest?  Can I call you Quest?  WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT?

“I was working on the other side of the world when suddenly I got a “get yo arse down here NOW!!!!!” text.”

To get this out of the way, by “working” do you mean leading The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon?  Do you refer to appearing on NATIONAL TELEVISION in the same way I refer to being a counselor at a summer camp?  How many amazing life stories can you store inside that hair?

And of course they texted you.  I’m not sure which one of the men in that picture used “arse” in a text to you, but I’m going to assume is was Dave Chappelle.  I’m also going to assume that it doesn’t matter who sent you that specific text because it seems like everyone’s first instinct when something unbelievable is about to happen is, “Oh man, we better get Questlove here.”  Who are you, Questlove?  I have some theories:

  1. You’re the luckiest dude on earth, and this was the rare time you were actually forewarned about an event this big.
  2. You’re our generation’s Abraham Lincoln.  You can’t tell a lie, so you need to be there to chronicle these events to give them any sort of legitimacy.  You’re a barometer of facts.
  3. You are not one, individual being but many, many connected ones, which allows you to be everywhere at once.  You are Big Brother.
  4. You have a time machine.
  5. iPhones come programmed with your number in them so that whenever someone needs to let you know that something is going down, they can contact you directly.  It’s like the Bat Symbol only more of a curse.  You make it look easy.

“Sure enough I made it just in time to see the best night ever at the comedy cellar: Hannibal was on 1st”

Not the strongest start for “best night ever at the comedy cellar”, but certainly not a bad one.

“then Chapelle did an amazing off the top bit about what life will be like in a South African jail with prosthetic legs…and the pope quitting his career too.”

It was nothing really, Dave just took all of the most talked about, and, more importantly, joked about, news stories of the past month and turned them into 45 minutes of brilliant and original stand-up.  Just the type of thing you’d expect when Questlove is around.

“& then the floodgates opened:”


“Hart riffed on Spilling drinks on Hov”

Yes, he just called Kevin Hart, “Hart” because when you’re Questlove, you don’t do first names.  And sometimes you just do nicknames.  You just drop nicknames like it’s nothing.

“then everyone got in a cipher doing a mini roast/dozens/lovefest about each other. It was honest to god like watching the comic version of “scenario” or “the symphony” jokes and punchlines were flying fast. Stories of way back when was told.”

FLOOD. GATES. BLOWN. OFF.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around the phrase “mini roast/dozens/lovefest” because I’m not sure it’s possible to know something that beautiful if you’ve never seen it in person.  Then Quest refers to it as “the comic version of ‘Scenario’ or ‘The Symphony'” and everything gets turned on its head.  Was there music?  Did Dave make fun of Down to Earth?  Did Chris make any Scary Movie jokes?  Did anyone mention A Haunted House?  Where did Kevin Hart fit in?  Did they ask Dave about his show?  Where did Questlove sit?

“And I had the best seat in the house (Dave told me to play piano….but I took the bench just to get a good view)”

A few things about this statement

  1. Dave told Questlove to play the piano.
  2. Questlove had no intention of getting involved.  Questlove was star struck.
  3. Questlove knows when to let a moment happen.  He’s never bigger than anything.
  4. Questlove only accepted the invitation because he wanted a better seat.  I’m not sure it gets any more Questlove than that.

“amazing night watching #themaster5”

Have to love Questlove acting like this didn’t all happen because of him and playing it off like a fan.  Classy move.  If we’ve learned anything from this it’s that you should always be where Questlove might show up.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many rules pointing to where that might be.  Questlove is everywhere and nowhere.  The alpha and the omega.  This is just the beginning.