Dave Chappelle Returns: Comedy Central to Air Lost Episodes
According to early reports the three episodes contain many indirect references to Chappelle’s departure, as the content of many of the skits deals with Chappelle’s rise to fame and difficulties handling his newfound status. There are many jokes that deal with Chappelle’s absence, such as when the blues duo that plays during the show’s opening looks around and states: “I don’t think he’s coming.” Chappelle’s reasons for leaving, while expounded on by Chappelle himself, are still slightly mysterious, and perhaps the Lost Episodes will help illuminate the circumstances that led to his departure.
Chappelle bailed the country and went to South Africa during the filming of the shows’ third season, prompting many to speculate that Chappelle had either gone crazy or had a drug problem. Subsequent interviews with Chappelle proved that neither was the case, but that he had simply become fed up with the changes in his life since he had received the $50 million deal. In interviews Chappelle sited trust issues as one of his main reasons for leaving, suggesting that some in his inner circle were part of the problem.
During an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show, Chappelle talked about how the mega-deal he had signed had drained all the fun out of his work. “I would go to work on the show, and I felt awful every day. That’s not the way it was. I felt like some kind of prostitute or something. Like, if I feel so bad, why keep showing up to this place?”
Chappelle made another memorable appearance on Bravo’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” with host James Lipton. While it was entertaining enough just to hear Lipton introduce Chappelle’s films in his signature sophisticated tone, (“Half Baked, Undercover Brother,”), the main reason Chappelle was on the show was to address his departure from Comedy Central.
Dave explained that there were simply too many people around him telling him what his style was, what his voice was, and in that chaos he lost track of his own thoughts. While some think walking away from a $50 million deal is insane by any definition, some applaud Chappelle’s ability to speak out against the system and put his money where his mouth is.
The Lost Episodes should be interesting to watch not only for Chappelle’s insightful brand of comedy, but also for the chance to search for clues and signs as to what drove Chappelle to abandon the show. In fact, some of the shows producers and cast members have expressed their concern that fans will focus on possible clues and miss some of the comedy. Given Comedy Central’s propensity to show reruns, this problem could easily be solved by enjoying the comedy the first viewing, and playing detective the second.