Comedian Dave Chappelle sat down with Joe Rogan for an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience and explains his reason for leaving Chappelle’s Show on Comedy Central.
Chappelle reveals why he walked away from a $50 million deal to continue the Chappelle Show at the height of his career.
“What was so remarkable when I walked away from the show is that it was against incentive,” Chappelle tells Rogan. “So people couldn’t understand it at the time. It was so much money. How could you do that? Blah, blah, blah, But you know, if I had taken the money and finished the show, I would’ve gotten the money but might’ve never been the same.”
“The way people close to you react to it like I…failed or ruined my life. And, you know, when you’re cold, that phone don’t ring that often, and I had over a decade of sitting in that choice but I didn’t languish in that experience. I started doing stand up for much better reasons than making it,” says Chappelle.
Chappelle refers to his comedic hiatas as a “learning experience.”
“I learned a lot,” Chappelle explains. “I had had young children and I was raising my kids. I was living a suburban life. And then every once in a while, I’d get this feeling like, I’m the funniest guy. I gotta get out there. And I would, like, fly to Denver and do a week in Denver or something… I would perform like I was desperate for it.”
It was the famed comedians stint at Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival Tour in 2013, that made him want to return to comedy.
“I had a good run… for the most part the tour went good,” Chappelle says. “But it was a tough tour for me. It was a long show. I had to close it. My chops weren’t as tight as they normally were but I wasn’t, I didn’t suck by any means. But, you know, it could have been better. It was humbling but it made me wanna go back.”
After the deaths of DMX and Black Rob, the comedian made an incentive to live his life to the fullest.
“It’s not a midlife crisis,” he explains. “It’s the opposite of that. It’s like, look, I know I don’t get to stay here forever. My time is limited and precious, and I don’t take any of these things for granted. I don’t take this money for granted, this platform. And I’m not talking about the fame platform. I’m talking about comedy, this genre. This genre has been so good for me.”
Be sure to listen to the full interview with Dave Chappelle on Spotify.