In 2005, comedian Dave Chappelle abruptly withdrew from show business. Since then, rumors have cropped up occasionally about Dave Chappelle's possible return, though they're often proven false. Is this one any different?
Rumors have started to spring up about a Chris Rock/Dave Chappelle comedy tour, and it's all because of some comments made during a rare appearance by Chappelle onstage with fellow comedians Rock, Kevin Hart, Marlon Wayans, and Paul Mooney on a three-night stint at New York's Comedy Cellar.
During the show, Chappelle jested about himself and Rock going on tour, and Rock invited Chappelle down to Palm Springs, Fla., to which Chappelle replied, "After next Tuesday, I’m free for like 11 years," according to the Los Angeles Times. He went on to suggest that the show could be "Fireside Chats with Chris Rock."
In 2005, Chappelle left his extremely popular "Chappelle's Show" mid-production to spend time in Africa. Chappelle later returned to the US and told Oprah Winfrey during an appearance that doing the show was "incredibly stressful."
"When you're a guy who generates money, people have a vested interest in controlling you," he said.
For the past seven years, since Chappelle left the limelight, every time the slightest rumor of a return comes surfaces on the Web, the whole Internet seems abuzz with hope. However, if his previous comments are anything to go by, a complete return to show business may not be in the cards for Chappelle. During an "Inside the Actor's Studio" interview in 2006, he seemed disillusioned.
Chappelle told the crowd of students from Pace University in New York, "You guys are students now, so you're idealists. You don't know about where art and corporate interests meet yet. Just prepare to have your heart broken... get your Africa tickets ready, baby. Because you have no idea!"
If you've never heard a Dave Chappelle stand-up set, be prepared for a lot of expletives, drug references, and racially charged language. However, much of the comedian's work is devoted to seriously questioning race relations in contemporary America. Fans will probably always hope that rumors of a return are true – but don't count your chickens quite yet.