While it's not so uncommon in Hollywood for projects to lose big names, such as a lead actor or a TV showrunner, it's something else entirely when a creator chooses to pull the plug on a show in the height of its popularity. A trail blazer in many respects beyond just that one, comedian Dave Chappelle still earns confused awe from fans over walking away from Chappelle's Show back in the mid-2000s. Now, he's finally opened up a bit all these years later about if he misses the acclaimed show.
Yeah, but Chappelle's Show's like breakin' up with a girl and you still like her. But in your mind you're like, 'That bitch is crazy. I'm not goin' back.
I'm not sure there could be a better answer for Dave Chappelle to have for his feelings about his former show. In fact, I'd be more surprised if he didn't refer to it as a crazy bitch at some point in the conversation. Like few shows before it, Chappelle's Show almost revolutionized how blatant and open race-based comedy could get on TV, and beyond just the memorable Rick James and Prince impressions, the sketch series was remarkably astute in satirizing the many problems and imbalances affecting black people. To that end, the show became more than just a mindless TV program, and the pressure had to be scary. Though not as scary as packing up and shipping out, apparently.
Appearing on CBS This Morning for a rarest of rare personal interview with Gayle King, Dave Chappelle got as honest and upfront as one would hope about that questionable time in his career. And his words should serve as an inspiration to anyone who thinks that money and fame are the root of all happiness. Here's what Chappelle specifically credits as inspiring him to make the huge life change.
I was talkin' to a guy...he basically said to me that comedy is a reconciliation of paradox. And I think that that was a irreconcilable moment for me. That I was in this very successful place, but the emotional content of it didn't feel anything like what I imagined success should feel like. It just didn't feel right.
Much as it goes sometimes when you're dating someone that isn't exactly the person you originally thought, the height of Chappelle's Show's success wasn't in tune with what he thought that success should actually feel like. And rather than get mired down in a doomed relationship that only gets repetitive and angst-ridden, Dave Chappelle turned down quick riches (bitches) and focused on finding achievements that meant more to him personally. Not getting notes from Comedy Central about censoring his comedic vision probably helped, too. And no one can blame him for looking back with some fondness, either.
Sadly, Chappelle's Show will likely never return to proper form in one way or another (outside of a mash-up Saturday Night Live sketch, anyway), but that doesn't mean the comedian can't be seen on TV soon. Dave Chappelle got paid out the ass for not just one, but two, Netflix stand-up specials hitting the streaming service on Tuesday, March 21, at 12:01 a.m. PT, with another one on the way. Head to our Netflix premiere schedule to see what's going up soon, and then check out our TV schedules for both midseason premieres and summer debuts to plan your next few months.