Chappelle speaks up about frap-out

When Dave Chappelle decided to go AWOL from his Comedy Central show Chappelle's Show, speculation was rampant that he was suffering a nervous breakdown or had a drug problem. Now, in an interview in Esquire magazine, the comic talks about what he was thinking at the time.

Chappelle says he left the show because he felt uncomfortable that his bosses at cable network Comedy Central were white.

"The bottom line was, white people own everything," Chappelle said, "and where can a black person go and be himself or say something that's familiar to him and not have to explain or apologize?"

Chappelle told the magazine he also felt like he was losing creative control over his output.

"I felt like I was really pressured to settle for something that I didn't necessarily feel like I wanted," the comedian said.

So Chappelle turned his back on the show, potentially damaging his career.

After the season one DVD set of Chappelle's Show set sales records in 2004, Comedy Central signed him to a $50 million dollar deal. Season two was released in May of 2005 and became the biggest-selling TV show on DVD of all time. Soon after, Chappelle began to feel pressure.

Chappelle disappeared from the set of his show shortly after filming on the third season had commenced. The comedian was missing for several days before turning up in South Africa.

Comedy Central execs were amenable to continuing the show, saying, "Dave is a comedic genius whose work we truly value, and the door is always open to him."

Chappelle wanted none of it. After lying low for a while, he returned to his stand-up comedy roots and began appearing at clubs across the country.

"I wasn't crazy but it is incredibly stressful," Chappelle said when he appeared on Oprah in February. "I would go to work on the show and I felt awful every day, that's not the way it was," he said. "I felt like some kind of prostitute or something."

The slowed momentum hasn't hurt Chappelle. His documentary, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, was released in theaters last month to critical accolades and good box office.

Comments (27)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Ayo Chapelle. White people ain't bad man. I mean I'm white, cept my moms usually tells me I act black. But you gotta come back, like it said "Your a Comic Genius!"
2
Reply
Flag
"Chappelle says he left the show because he felt uncomfortable that his bosses at cable network Comedy Central were white"

WTF? F*ckin racist bullsh*t.
Reply
Flag
He ran out of weed
Reply
Flag
Dave was right. these networks are tying to control their shows. when are you comin back Dave?
Reply
Flag
Dave Chappelle is a great comedian, and no great person should have to deal with that kind of intimidation. It's his choice to what can control his future It's up to him to decide to continue his show. If he were to bring it back, then good for him, but if he doesn't, we can't force him to do something he doesn't want to do. It's like forcing someone to take drugs just to get themselve's out of trouble. No one needs people breathing down there neck waiting for that person to screw up their own lives. I believe Dave knew this and knew that if he kept going with his show, he would have screwed up and insulted somebody who would've gotten him in deep trouble and would never be in showbiz again. We shouldn't be mad at Dave for not making us happy, we should be mad at the people who forced him to do what he did.
Reply
Flag
Do something else Dave and stop being a tease!
Reply
Flag
Good for you. You should do what you want to do not because you have to because you want to.
Remember this "Life is what you make of it nothing more and nothin less"
Reply
Flag
Don't I'm gonna miss him. In every article I've read about him he has to sneak in a jab at the white people for some reason. I think he's as big a racist as the people who he so hates.
Reply
Flag
Dave Chapelle is a loser. He's no Richard Pryor. Merely an inflamed boil on the buttocks of comedy.
Reply
Flag
Imagine if Jim Carey had quit 'In Living Colour' stating reasons that he was uncomfrotable working for black people.

Just think about it for a sec, thats all I'm saying. Chappelle is a genious but he's too afrocentric & got that stupid preconception that all white people he hasn't met are closet racists.
Reply
Flag
A really disappointing Interview in my eyes! I think he's now doing the exact same thing that he has so often criticized(in a very funny way of course) about his own people/community! For example in skits like "When keeping it real goes wrong" etc...

Now his bottom line seems to be: Blame Whitie!
When probably the real reasons he quit had much more to do with lack of creativity and totally financial independence(after the first season he made maybe round about 5-10 million, with the second one over 50 million...so he really dont have to do this for the money anymore:P)

The network bosses are white? OMG..lol, that didn't seemed to bother him when he started at Comedy Central with nothing! Now with approximately 80 million dollars more on his bank account it suddenly does?! ah, c'mon :/


greetingZ S0ren aka. GermanGuy
Reply
Flag
One part of me thinks he's kinda selfish and the other part of me respects him. It shows that his main mission is to entertain us and that his success doesn't mean nothing to him as long as he makes us laugh. And this is coming from someone who nearly cried when I found out the Chapelle Show was cancelled.
Reply
Flag
I have lost alot of respect for Dave. Why did you have to bring the race card in to this??
Reply
Flag
damn.. i miss his show..
i guess he's not coming back.. =(
Reply
Flag
Although his comments were racist, if he doesn't feel happy doing it, he shouldn't do it... I also miss the show...
Reply
Flag
I'm really gonna miss the show. After reading some of the posts, I feel . . .everybody has their opinion about him and unless you're black, you will never understand why he did what he did.
He should sell his show to HBO or SHOW, screw Comedy Central
Reply
Flag
I remember Howard Stern on The Daily Show,saying he talked to chappelle who told him he wasn't happy with the money he got from Comedy Central,so therefore the CC executives had to be racists.
I don't know what is more stupid: Not being happy with his salary (which we now know was 50 million dollars) and blaming it on racism,or saying "and where can a black person go and be himself or say something that's familiar to him and not have to explain or apologize?" in a time where the Hip-Hop/Rap colture sweeps the world,and being black is considered cool.
Reply
Flag
I think that Chappelle's statements were fairly racist, and my respect for him has plummeted since reading this article.
Reply
Flag
confusing %)
Reply
Flag
Dave apologize for being himself on his show? the way i saw it, at that point he had more carte blanche' then alot of "white" shows would, i think this is a rather pretentious "he man's always getting me down" view, the show was excellent and insightful and he pissed it all away because "white people own everything"? Way to go dave, you're a brilliant comedian, but you arent Richard Pryor and it isnt the 70's.
Reply
Flag
ha ha just told him the same thing then saw Snide's comment
Reply
Flag
SNIDER!!!!!!!!!!
Reply
Flag
He really just needs to get over himself at this point and should stop jerking his fans and the network around. Dave's had well over a year to cope with your 'stress'. Deal with it.
Reply
Flag
Will he be back is the question. I had given up on it already - But everytime I see that he is talking about it again, it's like twisting the knife.

Just come out and tell us - please - Dave!
Reply
Flag
test
Reply
Flag
testing
Reply
Flag
"Season three was released soon after and became the biggest-selling TV show on DVD of all time."

Should say season two.

Yo colin :)
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook