Sometimes people just work together.
That definitely seems to be the case in this mostly-forgotten clip of Dave Chappelle's 2006 sit-down with Maya Angelou on the Sundance documentary series Iconoclasts.
While the pairing sounds a bit awkward, the video shows two legends in their own right, Angelou a pioneering poet and author, and Chappelle, perhaps the greatest comedian of his generation, sharing one of the most thoughtful displays of genuine respect between artists you could imagine.
Angelou, who passed away this week at 86, goes in hard on Chapelle, asking him uncomfortable questions, such as “What happens when you expected the laugh, and nothing happened.”
Chappelle, who had just quit his massively popular Chappelle's Show at the time, recounts the unpleasant feeling of when fame hit and people started treating him like a comedy jukebox.
"When Chappelle’s Show first broke big, the stand-up thing was a little hard for me cause it changed. I would walk on stage and I had like this rock star energy. People were listening to me different. They weren’t even really listening. I’d walk out on stage and I’d be like ‘hey everybody, how you doing.’ (People would yell) ‘I’m Rick James, bitch.’ There’d be a lady in the front row crying like I’m the Beatles, ‘I can’t believe he’s in front of me!’ Camera phones in my face, you know, and I was like ‘I don’t like this as much,'" Chappelle tells Angelou.
Chappelle talks about his “counter-culture” upbringing at a time when photos of Malcolm X hung on the wall, and Angelou recounts her own time with the giants of the civil rights movement.
“At Martin (Luther) King’s request, I rejoined the Southern Leadership Conference, because I had left him to go to Malcolm (X),” she tells Chappelle.
The nearly 10 minute clip is well worth your time for fans of either of these giants of their field.