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Dave Chappelle After Fame

After They Were Famous

After Dave Chappelle broke into comedy as a teenager, becoming a known performer at the Apollo Theatre by 19 years of age.

After writing and starring in Half Baked back in 1998.

After breaking DVD sales records with the first seadon of Chappelle’s Show, which sold 1.2 million in the first week alone.

After walking away from a 50 million dollar contract with Comedy Central, damaging his relationship ith the network and his longtime writing partner Neal Brennan.

Dave Chappelle went on a highly scrutinized pilgrimage to South Africa. Despite stating he went to gain perspective and focus on his life, the media constantly speculated it was due to mental illness, and even addiction issues. When he returned to the United States, Dave spoke out against the racial inequalities in the entertainment industry. He left LA to live in rural Yellow Springs Ohio with his wife and two children, but would occasionally resurface in small comedy clubs across the country.

In 2013 he returned to the mainstream comedy circuit launching a North American tour but it wasn’t always the A plus material everyone expected and the audience would either get a 3 hour performance with rave reviews or him just walking off stage after.

Dave Khari Webber Chappelle was born August 24th 1973 in Washington D.C. to his parents William and Yvonne, two accomplished university professors. His childhood was pretty relatable, his parents divorced and Dave split his time between Ohio and Maryland. He idolized comedians at a young age, inspired by Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor’s bold and sharp comedy.

After graduating from Duke Ellington School For The Arts, Dave moved to New York City to pursue his dream of being a standup comic. Within two years he was not only a regular at the Apollo and several other clubs but had also broken into acting, joining the main cast of Mel Brooks’s Robin Hood Men In Tights at only 19 years old.

For the rest of the 90’s Dave’s career continued to progress, landing HBO comedy specials, network sitcoms, and big budget movie roles. I mean who could forget the Dave Chappelle classic, You’ve Got Mail.

It was just five years later in 2003 that Dave made a deal with Comedy Central to star in his own sketch show and by it’s second season Chappelle’s Show was the highest rated in its time slot, breaking sales records and creating catchphrases that would become cultural phenomenons.

Dave did something not a lot of comedians on television would tackle, pulling out Hollywood insider scandal from behind closed doors and letting the general public laugh at the ridiculousness of the Hollywood elite. Not all were impressed including Prince, who later got the last laugh.

Dave had finally become a star, with prospective movie deals, international notoriety and a 50 million dollar contract with Comedy Central. So naturally he took the next logical step. He walked away from everything.

It was an overnight news sensation, America’s number one comedian Dave Chappelle had not only walked away from a 50 million dollars show deal in mid production of a third season, but also had left the country on a flight to South Africa. A few weeks later after his return, Dave did an exclusive interview with Oprah where he tried to explain his decision.

Dave also touched on racial conspiracies and difficulties he’d experienced in the industry, comments which continued to strain his already damaged relationship with friend and writing partner of 15 years, Neal Brennan.

Dave spent the rest of the 2000’s in a reclusive state, occasionally popping up across the country in surprise comedy shows, interviews, but mostly enjoying his new life in Ohio with his family. But it seems that Dave couldn’t resist show business forever and 8 years after his departure from the show he returned to the circuit to do a North American Tour.

Tickets sold out and venues were packed but things didn’t always go so smoothly. Since 2003 Dave had gained legions of new fans because of his sketch show and comedy specials. Many knew the safe Dave Chappelle from TV and not the stand up Dave Chappelle with nothing to lose.

That was the infamous 2013 Hartford Connecticut show, after which Dave said that if North Korea were going to bomb the US, he hoped it would drop on Hartford. Despite the drama and having T-Shirts made that said Fuck Hartford, Dave returned a year later to apologize for the incident. He was met with a packed house and judging by the standing ovation I’d say he was forgiven.

That same year, his impressions of the late Prince would come back to haunt Dave when he found himself on the cover of Prince’s album ‘Breakfast Can Wait’.

Dave has continued his comeback but it looks like standup isn’t the only thing he’s doing sets of. 

And things are currently looking like they are back on track for Dave. He is back doing stand up and has been touring for most of 2016 with great reviews. He even returned to acting in Spike Lee’s greek comedy adaptation, ChiRaq.

Does this mean the Dave Chappelle we know and love is finally returning to the spot light? Well we’ll just have to wait and see because this is After They Were Famous.

 





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