Dave Chappelle returned to Joe Rogan’s podcast this week, going extra-deep on the storied history of Chappelle’s Show and reflecting on what inspired him to fully commit to a re-entry into the world of comedy.
At the top of their discussion, Rogan and Chappelle traded thoughts on how pivotal fans’ voices were amid the years-long controversy surrounding the rights to his acclaimed (though short-lived) Comedy Central series. As you’ll recall, the most recent development saw Chappelle’s Show returning to Netflix after Chris McCarthy at CBS Viacom put his “interest in making the past right” to use.
“It wasn’t a court of law,” Chappelle said around three minutes into the interview and also seen in the clip below. “I don’t believe I would have got anything in a court of law. I think, in the court of public opinion, it was a good time for me to say my piece and through the years it wasn’t something I would harp on. … It was something I was actually reluctant to talk about.”
Asked about “regular people” being able to relate to something that could be viewed as simply wanting more money, Chappelle advised against anyone looking at things in life “through the framework of money” because it results in missing the bigger picture.
As seen in the video up top, Rogan later asked Chappelle what he did during the years after Chappelle’s Show and prior to his proper return to the upper echelons of stand-up.
“I learned a lot,” Chappelle said. “It was a humble existence. I had had young children and I was raising my kids. I was living a suburban life. And then every once in a while, I’d get this feeling like, I’m the funniest guy. I gotta get out there. And I would, like, fly to Denver and do a week in Denver or something. … I would perform like I was desperate for it.”
Chappelle also reflected on the personal importance of his stint on the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity festival tour in 2013.
“I had a good run...for the most part the tour went good,” he said. “But it was a tough tour for me. It was a long show. I had to close it. My chops weren’t as tight as they normally were but I wasn’t, I didn’t suck by any means. But, you know, it could have been better. It was humbling but it made me wanna go back.”
When Chappelle turned 40, he added, he decided “I’m gonna have fun.” He also referenced the deaths of DMX and Black Rob as having helped him hone in on this goal.
“It’s not a midlife crisis,” he said. “It’s the opposite of that. It’s like, look, I know I don’t get to stay here forever. My time is limited and precious and I don’t take any of these things for granted. I don’t take this money for granted, this platform. And I’m not talking about the fame platform. I’m talking about comedy, this genre. This genre has been so good for me.”
Listen to the full Rogan x Chappelle interview here via Spotify.
Later this month, Chappelle—alongside Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli—is launching his own podcast through Luminary titled The Midnight Miracle.
“Making a podcast isn’t the obvious next move for me, but it’s the right one,” Chappelle said last month when announcing the new podcast, which will also be available on Apple Podcasts when the Luminary channel makes its worldwide debut in May. “The Midnight Miracle gives you a look into how me and my friends process the world around us, and I think it will change the way listeners think of what a podcast can be.”