Saturday, May 14, 2005

Dave Chappelle Speaks: Not in Rehab, Hospital

Drudge Report claims that Dave Chappelle, comedian and recent recipient of $50 million to continue producing Comedy Central's popular Chappelle's Show, has spoken out amidst speculation that he winged off to South Africa for drug treatment or psychiatric care.

"I figured, Let me just cut myself off from everybody, take a minute and pull a Flintstone-stop a speeding car by using my feet as the brakes. I am surprised at what I would do for $50 million. I am surprised at what people around me would do for me to have $50 million," Dave Chappelle tells TIME's Christopher John Farley in an exclusive interview.

CHAPPELLE tells TIME he's not in mental hospital or drug rehab, debunking earlier reports in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY and elsewhere.

Dave Chappelle has always struck me as a laid back yet sharp-witted performer. The audio commentary on the DVD version of the first season of Chappelle's Show reveals a lucid, ambitious, and highly intelligent artist who was very careful about how he presented his material on camera.

So while Chappelle likes to play up his enjoyment of marijuana, my guess is that his sojourn to South Africa was more of a getaway than a get-me-away-from-drugs / mental health trip.

Here’s hoping that Chappelle and his Show are back in action soon.


Update: Here's the Time story. A very interesting read, it showcases an attempt by a talented and successful man trying to stay sane amidst money, fame, and the trappings of both.


Al said...

I gotta say this little flake-out kinda bugs me. He just ups for the monster superstar contract- and then he decides he's got issues. Geez dude, you're an artist, so use it for your art. That's why God gave artists such angst.

Eric Berlin said...

Yeah, I can see your point. I don't know the specifics of the contract, but it seems as though Comedy Central is pretty freaked out at the moment.

It would be fine and dandy if Chappelle were to go off on a spiritual retreat during his off time (and even disappear for a while) but it's not that cool to reneg on your contract. Making $50 million and having a hit show doesn't give you the right to break your word.

The Sore Loser said...

I'm stunned that Chappelle was offered $50 million for the third season. As far as I know, that's much more than either Letterman or Leno. How can lowly Comedy Central afford to pay someone that much?

Eric Berlin said...

$50 million was for the contract, not just one season. Not sure how many years it was for.

In any case, that's a lot of money for a basic cable net, and I'm sure they were fully expecting to anchor their finances around a sure mega-hit.