Dave Chappelle speaks to Gayle King co-host on “CBS This Morning” about his big comeback. In 2005, Dave walked away from the height of his career and a 50 Million dollar contract.
He first started sneaking into comedy clubs when he was 14 and has been performing for 30 years. Dave walked away from Comedy Central after two hilarious years doing the “Chapelle’s Show.”
“And I think that that was an irreconcilable moment for me. That I was in this very successful place, but the emotional content of it didn’t feel anything like what I imagined success should feel like. It just didn’t feel right.” Chappelle told “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King.
Dave not only left the show, walking away from a $50 million deal, but he also left the country, going to South Africa to gain perspective.
“Fame, yeah, but not so much that I get on a plane to Africa. Fame is not that kind of scary. But it is – fame is a horrifying concept when it’s aimed at you, you know?” Dave said. “At the end of the day, it’s so – you don’t have that much control over it. You just try to conduct yourself as best you can.”
“Even when you walked away in 2005, you were still working. It’s just that we didn’t know all the things that you were doing. You really stayed low,” King said.
Dave said he wasn’t comfortable with that level of fame at the time.
“Well, I mean, if you look at me, right, physically – now, I’m, like, 40 pounds heavier than I was when I did ‘Chappelle’s Show.’ And people are like, ‘How did you gain all that weight?’ By resting and eatin’ and payin’ attention to myself. I have actual relationships with my kids,” he said. “I’ve been all over the country, touring all my life. But I never saw anything. Now I’ve seen everything. I could talk to people or I could – I had time to stop if someone said they liked me. It wasn’t like I brushed past ’em like, ‘I don’t want to hear it.’ I had time to stop like, ‘You do?’ You know what I mean? It’s like – it was just, like, the way that I engaged the world was different.”
He says he’s at a point in his life that he wants it to “mean something.” At a talk to Allen University in Columbia South Carolina Dave says it’s okay to be afraid.
“It’s okay to be afraid because you can’t be brave or courageous without fear. The idea of being courageous is that even though you are scared, you just do the right thing anyway. So in 2004, I walked away from $50 million and in November, I made a deal for $60 million,” he told the students in a speech at Chappelle Auditorium.
Dave says working with Comedy Central became a little frustrating since they had a lot of rules that didn’t make much sense.
“I fought the network very hard so that those conventions could come to fruition,” Chappelle said. “So, like the first episode I do, that black white supremacist sketch. And it’s like, ‘Well, that’s 10 minutes long. It should be five minutes long.’ Why should it be five minutes long? Like, these types of conventions. I fought very hard. … So when I watch ‘Key & Peele’ and I see they’re doing a format that I created, and at the end of the show, it says, ‘Created by Key & Peele,’ that hurts my feelings.”
Looks like Dave is making up for some lost time. Right now he’s focused on his new creation: three highly anticipated, multi-million-dollar Netflix specials.