The return of the king of comedy was not the lord of the ratings ring.
Chappelle's Show: The Lost Episodes, sans involvement by its namesake star, failed to produce blockbuster numbers for Comedy Central. The special featured many of the people involved in the show, including Charlie Murphy and writer Neal Brennan, and was composed of sketches filmed before Chappelle's infamous walkout last year.
Chappelle's Show was down 21 percent in his most ardent demographic, adults 18-34. The heavily promoted special, which was broadcast Sunday, July 9, scored 1.32 million viewers in the 18-34 demo as opposed to the average 1.67 million the show normally got. In adults 18-49, the show was seen by 1.83 million, a 15 percent decline from the 2.16 million who used to tune in.
The lackluster ratings can be attibuted to a number of reasons, most obvious being that Chappelle himself was not involved in the culling together of the "lost" sketches. Viewers may have seen the special as an attempt by Comedy Central to cash in on Chappelle's name.
Chappelle has moved on, performing stand-up and producing a documentary, Dave Chappelle's Block Party. The show has been off the air for two years, and in the interim, Comedy Central has released some of the same material on its Web site, MotherLoad.
Despite the less-than-stellar ratings, Chappelle won its time slot and landed in the weekly top 10 for basic cable.
Last spring, as the third season of Chappelle's Show was beginning production, Chappelle walked off the set and disappeared. He resurfaced several days later in South Africa, saying he was sick from the pressure of his $50 million dollar contract and that he felt he was exploiting his heritage for people who didn't get the joke.