Comedian Dave Chappelle sat down with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King, for a rare one-on-one interview today. The 43-year-old addressed his nearly 12-year absence from the public eye, explained how it has made him a better person, and shared his pans for the future.
There was much speculation when Chappelle left Comedy Central and his $50 million-dollar contract, during the height of the show’s success. Many suggested drug abuse or a mental breakdown but Chappelle says that he essentially needed to find peace of mind. Telling Gayle, “I think that was a very irreconcilable moment for me, that I was in this very successful place but the emotional content of it, didn’t feel anything like what I imagined success should feel like. Just didn’t feel right.”
Chappelle retreated to South Africa for several years to get away from the press coverage and to get in touch with himself. Although he managed to not directly be in the spotlight, he was always working in some capacity. “I found an altitude I was comfortable with. I found a way to do what I like to do, and avoid some of the parts that I was uncomfortable with.”
The father of three says that during his hiatus, he had the opportunity to form actual relationships with his three children and got to experience the cities he traveled to, versus being there for a moment. Chappelle says he had time to connect with his fans, the ones who would stop him on the street and compliment his work in admiration.
“It was just like, the way I engaged the world was different.”
He now lives in a small town in Ohio with his wife and children, where he says he’s treated like a neighbor, not a big star. Dave says that his lifestyle results in him being calmer, he has time to think. “I have time to think about things, and I think for a comedian, if you don’t have time to think, you’re just not as effective.”
Fans of Chappelle can rejoice because he’s had a lot of time to think and get ready for his 3-part stand-up special on Netflix, (a $60 million dollar deal), available March 21st.