Dave Chappelle is in the midst of a 13-night run at Thalia Hall in Chicago. The comedian has naturally sold out all shows, and he wants to make sure that only those lucky people with a ticket get to see his best material. To that end, Chappelle has teamed up with San Francisco-based startup Yondr, which makes cloth “socks” for smartphones with a smart lock on them. Cross into the “no phone zone,” and you’ll have to get the sock locked, preventing theater-goers from distracting phone use.
Ars tried Yondr back in October 2014 with mixed results. Some people loved the “olden times” feel of being free of their phones, others resented being told that they can’t take photos and send them to friends as bragging rights. Yondr’s sock design doesn’t seem to have changed much since then. Although the Hollywood Reporter implies that a wireless perimeter locks and unlocks Yondr’s phone pouches, The Chicago Tribune noted that theater-goers had to go through a “check-in process” to get their phones locked, similar to the manual process that Ars experienced a year ago. Yondr did not respond to Ars’ request for clarification.
Reportedly, Chappelle’s impetus for partnering with Yondr is primarily to keep his live material off the Internet. He’s following in the footsteps of comedian Hannibal Buress, who partnered with Yondr for a show in Napa, California after an audience member took a video of Buress talking about Bill Cosby’s sexual assault allegations, creating a social media storm that Buress didn’t exactly care to be a part of.