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April 14, 2006

Dave Chappelle: I Left Comedy Central Because They Were Racists (Who Paid Me $50 Million)

I sure could use a little racism like that in my life.

Funnyman Dave Chappelle cites racial prejudice as the reason for his abrupt walk-out from his hit Comedy Central series, "Chappelle's Show" last year.

The stand-up comedian made headlines in May 2005 when he quit the show during its third season, leaving behind a $50 million contract.

He was eventually tracked down in South Africa where he said he went to "purify himself," and "do some soul searching" because he was unhappy with the direction the show was going.

During an interview, Chappelle told Esquire magazine, "The bottom line was, white people own everything..."

Well, they no longer owned that $50 million they gave to you, until you gave it back.

.".. and where can a black person go and be himself or say something that's familiar to him and not have to explain or apologize? I felt like I was really pressured to settle for something that I didn't necessarily feel like I wanted. The thing about show business is that, in a way, it forces dysfunctional relationships in people."

I don't get it. Life is full of compromises imposed upon us. Is the idea of black authenticity, whatever the hell that is, so strong in some people they think they should be freed of the compromises just about every human being on the planet must accept?

To me, $50 million buys a lot of goodwill and spirit of compromise.

Some people handle this kind of amazing success relatively well. Some people just go bananas. I guess I understand that last part; hey, if your life circumstances suddenly changed from everything you had previously known -- hassels, money problems, a boss you hate, etc. -- into something resembling that Twillight Zone episode where you're suddenly in heaven on earth, maybe you too would find that a heaven where you're given everything you've always dreamed of looks a lot like Hell. It's just disorienting, I guess.

(Although: I sure would like to be disoriented in such a fashion.)

Chappelle has previously stated he walked away from the $50 million because he felt that kind of money alienated him from his audience, and, presumably, his friends and family, and from himself as well. That sounds strange, but then, that is, after all, a life-changing amount of money, and some people may just recoil from such a life-changing event.

But now he's crying racism. The evil racism of white men who tried to make him a "slave." A fifty-million-dollar incredibly-famous do-a-job-you-love walk-away-after-three-years-and-never-need-to-work-again-except-on-your-tan "slave."

Chappelle always struck me as sensible. But I think now he's been deranged by his jaw-dropping success.

Thanks to Digital Brownshirt, who asks for your prayers for his dad in his battle with cancer.



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posted by Ace at 02:13 PM

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