Dave Chappelle famously walked away from $50 million and the wildly successful “Chappelle’s Show” more than a decade ago and he’s explaining why ahead of his new Netflix specials’ premiere.
“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,” Chappelle tells “CBS This Morning” Monday, March 20. “It just didn’t feel right.”
Chappelle admitted he missed the sketch-comedy show, but he knew it was something he couldn’t do again.
“‘Chappelle’s Show’ is like breakin’ up with a girl and you still like her,” the comedian says. “But in your mind you’re like, ‘That b—- is crazy. I’m not goin’ back.'”
He added that he “found an altitude I was comfortable with” since leaving the series, which included a famous Prince parody the singer didn’t want to be a part of but “loved” once he saw it, according to Chappelle.
“A lot of times when you’re a famous dude, you don’t really feel like a person is actually looking at you,” he told The New York Times Friday, March 17. “They’re looking at the phenomenon that you’ve become. Every once in a while, a person will engage with you, and you’ll be like, ‘OK, this person actually sees me.’
“But, I didn’t want the headache or the scrutiny. It was too much for me at that point.”
Now, Chappelle is in the middle of filming the third in a string of Netflix stand-up comedy specials, two of which premiere Tuesday, March 21. The streaming giant offered him a $60-million deal for the programs, which have been lauded by critics.
“It wasn’t like I made a deal and had to go out and do a lot,” he said laughing. “I just had to deliver the shows.”
“I could quit my show, and that’s one kind of difficulty,” he said. “But quitting doing stand-up would be another. I’m sure everybody gets to a point where they run out of [stuff] to say. … But, it’s hard to not ever come back to. Guys might walk away from it and close the door, but they don’t lock it behind.
“Eddie Murphy always entertains the possibility of doing it again. Even though he doesn’t do it, I’m sure he thinks about it all the time.”