dave chappelle

John Bauld/Wikimedia (CC-BY)

Dave Chappelle caught COVID-19 after partying with COVID-positive Grimes—and Elon Musk, Joe Rogan

They all hung out at a maskless, backstage party after a show.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Published Jan 22, 2021   Updated Jan 22, 2021, 3:27 pm CST

If you’re a wealthy celebrity, you have the means to seal yourself in a bunker (or at the very least a luxury apartment) and avoid the pandemic. But a lot of celebrities clearly aren’t taking this route, as comedian Dave Chappelle has become the latest high-profile star to catch COVID-19 after hanging out in public without a mask.

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Chappelle’s diagnosis is drawing attention because just days before, he was spotted at a maskless gathering with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk and Grimes, the last of whom tested positive herself just two weeks ago.

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Chappelle was in the middle of a 10-day stand-up residency in Austin, Texas. To keep things (somewhat) safe, the audience sat at socially distanced tables during the show. But the backstage parties weren’t so careful, judging by a photo Rogan posted on Wednesday. It shows a group of people hanging out in close quarters, without masks, including Musk, Grimes, Chappelle, and comedians Donnell Rawlings, Ron White, and Michelle Wolf.

This raised some eyebrows because Grimes posted about testing positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 9. She told fans that she was “weirdly enjoying the Dayquil fever dream” while dealing with what sounds like a mild case of the virus. This was 10 days before she and her partner, Musk, went to hang out with Chappelle and Rogan.

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Twitter user expressed their horror at the thought of all these maskless celebrities being in the same place, and some accused Grimes of giving Chappelle COVID-19.

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People infected with COVID-19 are at their most contagious before and during the first week of symptoms. It sounds like Grimes was past that point, but she wasn’t necessarily in the clear. The CDC says that people who display symptoms should only leave self-isolation at least 10 days after their first symptoms appeared, and if their symptoms are improving, with no fever for at least 24 hours.

Meanwhile, if you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19 (like Musk was exposed to Grimes), then you should quarantine for 14 days because you may be contagious without exhibiting symptoms yet.

So yes, Grimes or Musk might have infected anyone at this unmasked gathering. But due to the typical incubation period of a week or more, it’s much more likely that Chappelle caught COVID-19 a few days before, meaning he may also have been contagious at this event.

What a great party!

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*First Published: Jan 22, 2021, 10:25 am CST