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Dave Chappelle is the funniest guy around. If comedy is a calling, David Chappelle answered it at a very early age. Chappelle began his career in his native Washington, DC at the age of fourteen. As a minor, Dave Chappelle's mother, an ordained Unitarian minister, often accompanied him to gigs. Now twenty-eight, Dave Chappelle no longer needs a chaperone. Today, Dave Chappelle's gift of laughter extends well beyond the stand-up circuit. Dave Chappelle movie credits alone include over eleven major feature film roles.
In 2003, Chappelle debuted his own weekly television show on Comedy Central, Chappelle's Show. His sketch comedy heavily skewers racial stereotypes and slurs, including Chappelle's African-American heritage. This, combined with pointed social and political commentary, quickly gained the show great popularity. By the end of the second season, it was one of the highest-rated shows on basic cable, and second only to South Park on Comedy Central.
Additionally, the DVD set of the first season became the best-selling DVD of a television show to date. Due to the show's popularity, Comedy Central's parent company Viacom reportedly offered Chappelle a $50 million contract (giving Chappelle a share of DVD sales) to continue production of Chappelle's Show for two more years while allowing him to do side projects.
Dave Chapelle does the funniest Rick James anyone has ever seen. One of Chappelle's most widely-known bits has Chappelle portraying late funk musician Rick James during his drug-abusing years in the Rick James sketch. "I'm Rick James, Bitch!" - which James himself acknowledged was a direct quote-has become a part of popular culture, as have many other Chappelle characters and sketches.
Dave Chappelle has also done two parodies of music videos, "Piss On You" and its remix, which parodies R&B singer R. Kelly's "Feeling on your Booty", and "Ignition (Remix)".
Dave Chappelle stunned fans and the entertainment industry when he abruptly left during production of the third season of Chappelle's Show. He spent two weeks in South Africa before returning home to his 65-acre farm near Yellow Springs, and then returned to standup comedy. His decision triggered reports that he had mental or drug problems, which he denied.
On May 11, 2005, news sources (most notably Entertainment Weekly) reported that Chappelle had checked himself into a psychiatric facility in South Africa. Chappelle denies this. On May 14, 2005, Time Magazine announced that one of their reporters had interviewed Chappelle in South Africa, and the comedian said no psychiatric treatments were occurring or necessary.
Dave Chappelle reportedly went to South Africa to purify himself and to do some soul searching. Chappelle has also said he was unhappy with the direction of his show. He has recently claimed that he felt pressured by network executives regarding the show's content.
Chappelle's Show is on hiatus as of May 2006 while he sorts out unspecified personal issues.
On August 3, 2005, co-star Charlie Murphy (brother of comedian Eddie Murphy) gave an interview to TV Guide stating that he believed that Dave Chappelle was finished with Chappelle's Show and would not be returning. Although Chappelle might have been done with filming the show, Comedy Central had reported that they were to release the un-aired sketches of the third season of Chappelle's Show into a couple of half hour episodes in mid-2006. A season three trailer was shown on Comedy Central during their Last Laugh '05 and then on their web site.
Dave Chappelle himself, however, has expressed disdain at the possibility of his material from the unfinished third season being aired, saying not only does he feel that it is "a bully move", but also that he would not return to the show if Comedy Central were to air the unfinished material.
Dave Chapelle's shows to see day light. Comedy Central announced plans to air Chappelle's Show: The Lost Episodes on July 9, 2006. An uncensored DVD release of the episodes will be available on July 25, 2006. Chappelle has made no comment on the release of the unaired episodes.
Dave Chappelle wrote and is featured in a Michel Gondry-directed film titled Dave Chappelle's Block Party that chronicles a Chappelle-hosted event, from September 2004, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. The highlight of the event was the reunion of popular '90s rap group The Fugees. Chappelle toured several cities in February and March 2006 to promote the film under the moniker "Block Party All-Stars featuring Dave Chappelle." The movie was released on March 3, 2006.
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