Dave Chappelle once a widely popular actor and comedian has recently dissapeared from the spotlight leaving many fans wondering: what happened to Dave Chappelle?
American comedian, screenwriter, television/film producer, actor, and artist. Chappelle began his film career in the film Robin Hood: Men in Tights in 1993 and continued to star in minor roles in the films The Nutty Professor, Con Air, Undercover Brother, and Blue Streak. His first lead role in a film was in Half Baked in 1998. In 2003, he became widely known for his popular sketch comedy television series, Chappelle's Show, which ran until 2006.
In 2003, Chappelle debuted his own weekly sketch comedy show on Comedy Central called Chappelle's Show. The show parodied many aspects of American culture including racial stereotypes, politics and pop culture. Along with comedy skits, the show also featured musical performances by mostly hip-hop and soul artists. Chappelle's pointed social and political commentary quickly helped the show garner critical and commercial success as well as controversy. Richard Pryor, one of Chappelle's comedic influences, was a fan of the show and stated that he had "passed the torch" to Chappelle.
Chappelle received two Emmy nominations for the show.Additionally, the DVD set became the best-selling DVD of a television show to date, overtaking the previous best-selling, The Simpsons first season DVD. It had sold over 3 million copies.Due to the show's popularity, Comedy Central's parent company Viacom reportedly offered Chappelle a $55 million contract (giving Chappelle a share of DVD sales) to continue production of Chappelle's Show for two more years while allowing him to do side projects. Chappelle had stated that sketches are not his favorite form of comedy, and that the characteristics of the show's format were somewhat like short films.
In a June 2004 stand-up performance in Sacramento, California, Chappelle walked off the stage after berating his audience for constantly shouting "I'm Rick James, bitch!," which became a catchphrase from the popular "Rick James" sketch. After a few minutes, Chappelle returned and continued by saying, "The show is ruining my life." He stated that he disliked working "20 hours a day" and that the popularity of the show was making it difficult for him to continue his stand-up career, which was "the most important thing" to him.
He also told the audience:
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.
Season 3 was scheduled to air on May 31, 2005, but in that month, Chappelle stunned fans and the entertainment industry when he abruptly left during production of the third season of Chappelle's Show and took a trip to South Africa. Chappelle has since stated that he was unhappy with the direction the show had taken.
Coming here I don't have the distractions of fame. It quiets the ego down. I'm interested in the kind of person I've got to become. I want to be well rounded and the industry is a place of extremes. I want to be well balanced. I've got to check my intentions, man.
Chappelle stated that the death of his father in 1998 had an impact on his decision to go to South Africa. By throwing himself into his work, he had not taken a chance to mourn his father's death. He also said the rumors that he was in drug or psychiatric treatment only persuaded him to stay in South Africa.
"I would go to work on the show and I felt awful every day, that's not the way it was. ... I felt like some kind of prostitute or something. If I feel so bad, why keep on showing up to this place? I'm going to Africa. The hardest thing to do is to be true to yourself, especially when everybody is watching."
Since then Dave has returned to the states and has started on new projects leaving "The Chappelle Show" behind.
In 2006 "Dave Chappelles Block Party" was released which chronicles a Chappelle-hosted concert in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn on September 18, 2004. Several musical artists, including Kanye West, The Roots, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Dead Prez and Jill Scott are featured in the movie both performing in the concert and in conversation off-stage. The most surprising highlight of the event was the "last minute" reunion of popular '90s hip hop group The Fugees.
In April 2007, Chappelle set a stand-up endurance record at the Laugh Factory Sunset Strip comedy club, beating comedian Dane Cook's record of 3 hours and 50 minutes. In December of the same year, Chappelle broke his own record with a time of 6 hours and 12 minutes. Cook took the record again in January 2008, with a time of 7 hours. On November 19, 2009 Chappelle performed at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, where it was speculated that he would aim to take back the record. However, he was disqualified according to the club owner, after he left the stage, five hours into his routine.
While Dave is still around and has moved on in his comedic career many people still miss the classic sketch comdey of "The Chappelle Show"