After eight years, Dave Chappelle shares how he could leave Chappelle's Show and what he did after.
Comedian Dave Chappelle may be best known for his sketch comedy series, Chappelle's Show, which ran on Comedy Central from 2003 to 2006 when Chappelle suddenly quit. Afterward, the stand-up comic was not active for over a year until he hosted the documentary Dave Chappelle's Block Party. (Note: If you haven't seen that, you need to address this.) Chappelle's Show was a hit, parodying pop culture, politics, and drug culture. While the show was popular for its humor, it was also recognized for its commentary on social issues.
On The Late Show with David Letterman last night, Chappelle doesn't state exactly why he left Chappelle's Show while filming the third season, but he does explain why he went to South Africa and goes into how he was okay with sacrificing the potential income from the show. At a stand-up act in 2004, the audience starting chanting the catchphrase "I'm Rick James, bitch!" from one of his sketches. A frustrated Chappelle told the audience that Show was ruining his life and stated "You know why my show is good? Because the network officials say you're not smart enough to get what I'm doing, and every day I fight for you. I tell them how smart you are. Turns out, I was wrong. You people are stupid."
In 2005, Comedy Central announced that production would cease indefinitely after Chappelle suddenly left. Chappelle was expected to earn $50 million for completing a third season.
For those of you interested in checking out this brilliant artifact of American media culture, clips are available at the Comedy Central website.