On Wednesday night, in the freewheeling Q&A portion of Dave Chappelle’s limited-run Broadway show, a woman in the audience asked Chappelle to talk about how he got cast in A Star Is Born. Chappelle described a process that, unexpectedly, featured Bradley Cooper showing up at the huge party Chappelle throws every year in his neighbor’s barn to convince him to be in the movie. Chappelle, who lives in Ohio when he’s not traveling for work, told the crowd that he happened to be at a hotel in London with Kanye West when West introduced Chappelle to Cooper. Chappelle was impressed by Cooper in his role in the West End production of The Elephant Man, but he didn’t think much of it until Cooper later showed up at Chappelle’s annual barn party in an effort to convince Chappelle to consider the part.
Even after the trip to a barn in Ohio, Cooper had to keep calling Chappelle “every two days” before Chappelle finally agreed to show up for the few days it would take to shoot the role, and Chappelle explained that he decided to do it mostly to get Cooper to stop bugging him. “He sent me the script …” Chappelle cracked, “but I never read the script. I didn’t know the shit was going to be good!” Chappelle is evidently glad he decided to be in the movie, and ended the story by praising Cooper as a director. From the way Chappelle tells it, though — and from what we know about how hard Cooper worked to get Lady Gaga into the starring role — maybe Cooper’s real hidden talent is in casting.