Actor, comedian, and podcast host Donnell Rawlings has lined up events for all to enjoy over the Memorial Day weekend around the Miami Valley.
Rawlings told Living Dayton‘s Emily Gibbs on Tuesday that this event was inspired by his previous experience visiting his longtime friend, comedian and Yellow Springs native Dave Chappelle, over the past four years.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dave Chappelle hosted comedy shows at the Wirrig Pavilion for a socially distant audiences. From comedians like Michelle Wolf to Kevin Hart, to musical acts like Erykah Badu and Common, the 2020 summer shows were packed with some of the top performing artists from around the country.
Dave Chappelle’s wife, Elaine Chappelle, was the “camp consular” as Rawlings and many others stayed during the pandemic “summer camp” in Yellow Springs. Elaine planned what Rawlings considered “corny activities” at the time, but quickly fell in love with the area.
“Every day, (Elaine) was like ‘hey, we’re going on a nature walk,’ and I’m like ‘I’m from the streets. I’m not going on a nature walk,’ or ‘hey, we have wine and paintings,’ and I had thumbs down to everything. Until she coordinated a kayak and canoe trip on the Mad River,” Rawlings said.
“And when I went to that river for the first time, I got so in touch with nature, I really understood the simple things in life we need to do, and after that, I started planning little activities.”
This Memorial Day weekend, Donnell and his team will be holding events each day for the community to come out and enjoy.
Saturday, May 28, Rawlings and hip hop artist Talib Kweli will host their second annual “Creeks vs Streets” kickball game from 1 to 3 p.m. at Gaunt Park in Yellow Springs. Also that night, Rawlings will head back to Wiley’s Comedy Club for two shows at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m.
Monday, May 30, take a trip down the Mad River with Donnell and Ted Greek for the “River Run” at Birch Bark Canoe Livery. Followed by a barbeque and live audience podcast recording of “The Donnell Rawlings Show.” Tickets can be purchased here.
Donnell Rawlings is well known for his countless roles in Dave Chappelle‘s “Chappelle Show.” He also voiced the character of Dez in the 2020 movie “Soul,” and recently stared in three episodes of HBO’s “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.”