Dave Chappelle is a comedic, creative, and artistic force. He remains one of the only performers who when he speaks, everyone stops to listen. Nowhere was this better exhibited than in his Comedy Central sketch series, Chappelle’s Show, which ran from 2003 until he left the show in 2005. During this time, the show produced truly iconic sketches like Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories about Prince and Rick James, Clayton Bigsby, Wayne Brady’s Show, A Moment in the Life of Lil Jon, and more. The show became a massive hit for Comedy Central and firmly cemented Chappelle as one the artistic masters of the 21st first century—until he walked away from it all.
Chappelle’s Show is back in the news thanks to its recent return to streaming services. However, Chappelle himself is frustrated with the situation. On November 24, the comedian posted a video to his Instagram detailing his thoughts over the process in which his seminal series had been licensed out to various streaming platforms including Netflix, HBOMax, and CBS All Access. In the wake of this news Netflix—who Chappelle has worked with since 2016—has pulled the show from their service.
How did we get here? Chappelle’s frustrations with Comedy Central and its parent company ViacomCBS stretch back all the way into the early aughts. To provide a full and clear picture, we’ve assembled a timeline of events about Chappelle’s Show’s entire history and what came after the fallout. What you’ll see here still remains of Hollywood’s most interesting stories: how Chappelle had it all, walked away, and built something entirely new.