A few years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find a comedian hotter than Dave Chappelle. His Comedy Central show was clever, at times completely vulgar and inappropriate, and a huge (HUGE) hit. It was certainly not a surprise at all that he came back with the cast to do a second season. Good money would have placed the bet on the Dave Chappelle show lasting many seasons, in fact.
But that’s not what happened.
When it came time for work and discussions to begin on the third season, Chappelle quit the show, left Comedy Central, and in fact he even left the country. He spent a fair amount of time in Africa, leaving many of his fans (and many other people besides) to wonder what would cause an extremely successful man to drop ship and throw it all away. Was he crazy? Was he on drugs?
Chappelle appeared to answer all of these questions in a rather unlikely place – Inside the Actor’s Studio with James Lipton. This clip, if you skip to about the 4 minute mark, is one of the most memorable statements you’ll ever hear about both Hollywood and success:
To watch the video Click Here
In case you didn’t click over to watch, essentially Chappelle makes the case that Hollywood is really sick. Really messed up. It can take people tough enough to make it to stardom and reduce them to insanity. Earlier in the interview, Chappelle said that when he told his dad that he wanted to be an actor, his father said, “Ok, but set a price you’re willing to pay, and once it goes above that price, cut all ties.” That is what Dave Chapelle did.
Sure, Chappelle had tons of success. Tons of money. But he also had strangers coming up to him quoting scenes with cuss words with Chappelle’s children standing right there. He had too many expectations. He had to give up too much of his creativity. It expanded beyond the price he wanted to pay, even with all of that fame he got, even with all of that money.