Back in 2006, there was no comedy show on TV more successful that “Chappelle’s Show”, boasting critical acclaim and record-setting DVD sales by tackling issues relating to race in ways both bitingly truthful and utterly hilarious.
Yet comedian Dave Chappelle’s sketch-comedy series abruptly ended when Chappelle himself pulled the plug, walking away from a deal that would reportedly have brought him $50 million.
During his sit-down with David Letterman in the new season of Netflix’s “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction”, Chappelle revisits his decision to walk away from such serious money.
According to Chappelle, they were in the midst of filming a sketch in which race was at the forefront. It wasn’t until a member of the crew laughed at the wrong moment that Chappelle began wondering if everyone was getting what he was trying to do.
“It just raised an interesting question to me, which I was already wrestling with in the first place,” he told Letterman.
“The sketch wasn’t that bad. It’s actually funny,” Chappelle explained. “It was a pixie. It was me dressed in blackface who’d pop up anytime a person felt the pains of racism, which is a tough trick to pull off. It’s not a bad sketch, but hearing the wrong laugh, while you’re dressed that way, it makes you feel shame.”
Meanwhile, his standup comedy tours had become far larger than he’d been used to, taking on the aura of a political rally or a rock concert. This, he told Letterman, left him feeling “bigger than [he] was comfortable with.”
Chappelle also admitted to being uncomfortable with the whole notion of celebrity, and explained the difference between celebrity and fame.
“Celebrity’s a role,” he said. “My I don’t like being a celebrity, but I like being famous.”
Dave Chappelle on being a celebrity pic.twitter.com/zf1JLthV7X
— SOUND (@itsavibe) October 24, 2020
The new season of David Letterman’s “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” is currently streaming.
Check out some Twitter reaction to the interview.
Dave Chappelle is my Beyoncé.
— BIG G✨ (@Gifted_Gab) October 24, 2020
"The more you invest into yourself as a celebrity, the less of yourself you get to own."
(he likes being famous, but doesn't like being a glitzy "celebrity") https://t.co/OpbNQTLdwr
— Ottawa News Today 🌷 (@OttawaNewsToday) October 24, 2020
Dave Chappelle said to Letterman (I’m paraphrasing)
Racism is 🇺🇸 greatest threat & Russia capitalized on this weakness.
It was an aha moment.
Racism is the disease. Trump is the symptom. We can treat the symptoms 🗳💙
Yet, we MUST eradicate the cancer that is bigotry & hate.
— 🖤🧨 𝗝𝘂𝗹𝗲𝗲 🍿📽 (@ThemDems) October 24, 2020
The world can’t tell you who you are..You’ve just got to figure out who you are and be there, for better or worse..
— Churchill (@MwalimChurchill) October 21, 2020
This Dave Chappelle interview with Letterman is truly the best thing I’ve seen in a minute
— hn (@hananmak) October 24, 2020