‘I never quit’: Dave Chappelle opens up about ‘Chappelle’s Show’

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Dave Chappelle David Letterman

Comedian Dave Chappelle talks to David Letterman about the 'Chappelle Show.'

NEW YORK (PIX11) – Comedian Dave Chappelle opened up to David Letterman on last night’s ‘Late Show’ appearance about a decision that left his fans baffled for years — why he decided to leave the hit “Chappelle’s Show.”

The wildly popular sketch show on Comedy Central ran for two years and part of a third, which abruptly ended when Chappelle left.

When Letterman asked why he quit, Chappelle at first joked, “Listen, here it is, technically I never quit.  I’m seven years late for work.”  Letterman was almost visibly disappointed by the evasive answer, and kept pressing the comedian during the interview.

“There was wild speculation, is there anything that we don’t know that we should know, or anything that we do know that we shouldn’t know?” Letterman asked.

Chappelle admitted that he did fly to South Africa for two weeks, saying, “There’s not too many places to hide left in America.”

Pressed about his decision to walk away from tens of millions of dollars, Chappelle spoke candidly, saying he has a difficult time talking about it because most people still think he’s crazy.  Then he joked:

“I look at it like this: I’m at a restaurant with my wife — it’s a nice restaurant and we’re eating dinner.  I look across the room and see this guy eating dinner and I say, ‘You see this guy across the room? He has $100 million, and we’re eating the same entree.’ Okay, fine, I don’t have $50 million or whatever it was. Let’s say I have $10 million in the bank — the difference in lifestyle is miniscule. The only difference between having $10 million and $50 million is an astounding $40 million. Of course I would like to have that money.”

Personal freedom appears to have been a major factor in his decision, even during stand-up acts around the time of his falling out Chappelle would complain that the show consumed his life.

“It’s a very complicated answer because I felt a variety of ways over the last years,” he told Letterman.  “Whenever there’s something I’d like to have that I could have afford but I can’t now, then I’m upset about it. But then when I see a guy who goes to a job that’s time consuming and he doesn’t have free time to do things I get to do, then I feel good about it.”

Chappelle will be performing at Radio City Music Hall starting June 18th through June 26th, and will perform with musical greats The Roots, Busta Rhymes, DJ Priemer, Nas, Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae.

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