Dave Chappelle finally spoke about his stunning decision to turn down a $50 million Comedy Central contract almost ten years ago, and apparently he’s as mystified as the rest of us.
“Technically, I never quit,” he explained Tuesday on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” “I’m seven years late for work.”
Well, technically, he did quit his hit show in 2005, after signing a contract to renew it for a third and fourth season. Most found the last minute decision completely inexplicable, and when he flew to South Africa, some speculated Chappelle had actually lost his mind.
When Letterman asked him about the trip, Chappelle brushed it off. “There’s not too many good hiding places left in America,” he said.
Letterman persisted: “Am I right about this? There was great mystery about this strategy on your part, was there not?”
Here Chappelle really opens up:
“I don’t know. Cause when it was all over the media I was gone. And then if you’re the guy, nobody really says anything to you. So I don’t know if it was mysterious or not mysterious. It was like living in the corner of perception and reality. You know what I mean?”
Incredibly, Letterman didn’t seem too sure. “A decision was made. You made a decision,” he prods.
“Uh yea, I made a series of decisions,” Chappelle acknowledged.
When asked if he regrets the decision, he eventually gets around to vaguely implying that, yes, he wishes he had an extra $50 million.
“The only difference between having 10 million dollars and having 50 million dollars is an astounding 40 million dollars,” he said. But that would have come with a time-consuming job that wouldn’t have allowed him as much freedom to do what he wants.
Basically, his free time hasn’t been that great and he occasionally regrets the decision when he listens to Jay Z:
“I think I might be a happier person. I don’t know. There’s no way of knowing. But you know sometimes I listen to a Jay Z record and it starts making me feel bad about some of the choices I’ve made. This guy’s had more fun on two songs than I’ve had in the last 11 years.”