From Chicago Tribune
Originally posted: February 3, 2006
On a Friday appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s show, Dave Chappelle indicated he might be willing to finish out the third season of his Comedy Central show, but several conditions would have to be met first. For its part, the network said "the door is open" to his return.
The comic said he walked away from “Chappelle’s Show” almost a year ago due to interference from the network, which had recently struck a $50 million deal with the comic, and also due to the stress he felt at having “broken through” as a household name.
Chappelle said he might finish out the third season if he and the network could create “the proper work environment,” and he added that he’d like to direct a portion of the show’s lucrative DVD revenues to charity.
Comedy Central had previously announced plans to air this summer four episodes of “Chappelle’s Show,” which are being cobbled together from footage the comic shot before he left the program.
A spokesman for Comedy Central said the network still plans to air the four unaired third-season episodes in the summer, “unless we hear from Dave soon.” If the network did hear from Chappelle about resuming production on Season 3, Comedy Central’s Tony Fox said, “our plans could change.”
“We’d love to have him back,” Fox added. In a Friday statement, Comedy Central said, “Dave is a comedic genius whose work we truly value and our door will always be open to him.”
The cable network, which reaped a windfall when “Chappelle’s Show” became the best-selling television show on DVD of all time, was “wrong 100 percent of the time as far as what people would like,” Chappelle said Friday.
“I was doing sketches that were funny but socially irresponsible,” Chappelle said, and he recounted an incident in which a staffer on the set laughed at him in a way that made him feel uncomfortable.
Going to work on the third season of the show “felt awful every day,” which is why he took off for a break in Africa after telling only his brother where he was going.
He laughingly told Winfrey that though he was paranoid -- “What is a black man without his paranoia?” he joked -- he was never ill, on drugs or mentally unstable, as press reports and rumors had it last year.
As pressure on him grew, Chappelle said, the people around him tried to “convince me I’m insane.”
He wasn’t insane, he said, but he was stressed out, had trouble being assertive, and also just wasn’t feeling the love.
“Love is like a nutrient,” he said. “I was deficient on vitamin love.”
“The hardest thing to do is to be true to yourself, especially when everybody is watching,” he said.