Dave Chappelle made his official comeback this year after a near 10-year hiatus. After walking out on his highly successful Comedy Central series back in 2005, the Half Baked comedian returned to stand-up with 10 sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall this past summer. With his comeback in full go-mode, GQ magazine decided to honor him as one of their “Men of the Year” for 2014, along with actor Chris Pratt and football player Michael Sam.
In the cover story by Mark Anthony Green, Chappelle opens up about quitting stand-up and leaving his critically-acclaimed “Chappelle’s Show” and his current relationship with the show’s co-creator Neil Brennan. The comedian also discusses what took him so long to come back, how Richard Pryor would feelabout his career, D’Angelo’s answering machine, and his real comeback plan. Read the interview in full here.
On quitting “Chappelle’s Show”
It just wasn’t good. None of ’em were really good. And it took that experience, those experiences, to learn how to do television. I’m a slow learner. Early in my career, I was along for a ride. And then, later in my career, I was like, “You know, I should really drive. ‘Cause nobody has ever taken me to a place I actually want to go.”
How do you think Richard would feel about Dave Chappelle’s career up until this point?
Now, I didn’t know Richard that well, and I wouldn’t know how he feels. I won’t pretend. But I know that if I had a torch and I passed it to somebody, I’d want to make sure that they ran it a longer leg than I could. Like, “Godspeed, young man. Don’t trip and don’t burn yourself. Just keep it moving. Make sure it doesn’t touch the ground. And, you know, just roll with it.”
On his official comeback after his Radio City shows.
Wow, that’s a really good question. Every ending is a beginning, and vice versa. So I guess it has the connotation of a sunset, because of the bucket-list analogy. There was something very definitive about it. In other words, for me to leave this show the way I did and then to sell, like, 60,000 tickets in New York City is a pretty big deal. And what was crazy was that if the venue were available longer, we could have kept going. So if it was the end of something, it would definitively be the end of any doubt that there was something real between me and the audience of people. ‘Cause you do doubt that, especially if you’re, you know, sequestered. I’ll say it like this: There’s still some shit on the list. I still got some shit on my bucket list.