What Is Dave Chappelle Doing These Days?


Dave's Finally Back!

Dave Chappelle is back doing what he loves best - stand-up comedy. He will be returning to the stage for shows in the U.S.A. and Canada during January 2016. Last year at this time Chappelle appeared at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee for eight shows over four consecutive evenings, following up with five early-February shows in Toronto. He also toured Australia, and returned to Radio City Music Hall in 2015 from June 18th to June 26th. At that time he appeared on David Letterman's Tonight Show, and gave a remarkably frank interview, stating that "I never quit, I am seven years late for work".

Dave Chappelle on Quitting HIs Show

He was the headliner for the Funny or Die Oddball and Curiosity Festival, which ran from August 23rd to September 22nd. Once the "Festival" was finished, he continued giving performances in Alaska, Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Ames Iowa, and Minneapolis Minnesota.

The Funny or Die tour was Dave's first big tour in years. On the opening of the first show, Dave was greeted enthusiastically by his fans. One reporter stated that there was a shared sense of gratitude between Dave and his fans. At the end of the show, Dave said “I missed you guys more than you missed me".

Unfortunately, things did not go so well at the August 29th show in Hartford Connecticut. Unruly fans interrupted the show and were making so much noise that Dave stopped his act and read a book. After 25 minutes, he walked off the stage and left an angry crowd booing. In defense of Chappelle's irritation with the crowd, it was reported in a LaughSpin article that it was primarily the Hartford audience's fault, stating that Chappelle had politely asked the crowd to stop making noise, but the hecklers continued. Their refusal to calm down made it impossible for Chappelle to go on with his act.

The upset in Hartford didn't dampen Chappelle's fans' enthusiasm, however. He was greeted warmly at Pittsburgh's First Niagara Pavilion, where he thanked the crowd for being the first to pick him up after a nasty spill. He even brought his wife Elaine, his children, and some other family members onstage to celebrate Elaine's 39th birthday. The crowd embraced him with shouts of "We love you" and "We miss you". The rest of the tour continued successfully and ended in Minnesota on a high note. Dave has a special connection to his Minnesota fans, and extended his sold out shows three times. Dave even gave his fans a chance to have a pancake breakfast with him at a charity event benefiting the Timberwolves’ Fast Break Foundation.

Dave had started to make more frequent appearances before the Funny or Die tour. On March 25th 2013 he did two shows at the Independent Comedy Club in San Francisco, and on March 27th and 28th he appeared at the Chapel. Tickets quickly sold out for all shows. These appearances followed three unexpected appearances at New York's legendary Comedy Cellar. At the Cellar, he was joined by some friends - Paul Mooney, Kevin Hart, Marlon Wayans and Chris Rock. He and Chris were even joking on stage about touring together, something that they've been talking about for years. It was reported that Rock said "You should come down to Palm Beach," to which Chappelle allegedly replied "After next Tuesday I'm free for like 11 years." That appearance fueled rumors that perhaps he would be making a comeback.

For awhile in 2012 Chris was appearing on stage intermittently. On August 19th 2012 he appeared at the Fillmore Detroit for his first stand-up comedy act in Detroit in six years. According to B. J. Harris of the Detroit Free Press, Chappelle gave a two-and-a-half hour show that mixed planned material about pop culture, politics, race and art along with some more relaxed free-style interaction with the crowd. Harris said that his connection with his fans shined through. He left the stage to a standing ovation. On August 21st he appeared in Toronto at the Winter Garden Theater and did an 80 minute bit. One reviewer stated that the act confirmed that Chappelle is still one of the top stand up comedians in the world.

I am so glad to hear that he is doing comedy again, and I really hope that he will continue. His fans, myself included, have missed him. He is one of the funniest and most natural comedians of our time.

Dave Goes Missing

The Chappelle Show aired on Comedy Central from 2003-2005 and was wildly successful. Having just signed a 50 million dollar contract with Comedy Central to do two more seasons of the show, Chappelle fled to South Africa without telling anyone. Once it was found out where he was, wild rumors flew around. There were claims being made that he was on drugs, or that he had committed himself into a mental institution. He refuted all of those rumors, but still the stories persisted.

Conspiracy Theories

Interestingly, even an outrageous conspiracy theory popped up concerning the whole event of Dave's departure from the limelight. According to "The Chappelle Theory" put forth by an anonymous public relations executive, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg and Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, were unhappy with Chappelle. They thought that his portrayal of African Americans reinforced negative stereotypes. The theory states that the group pressured Chappelle to change his comedy through a campaign of terror tactics, including death threats. Oh, come on now – I just can't envision this group making death threats!

What Chappelle Said Happened Back in 2006

I wanted to watch the videos of Chappelle talking rather than reading someone else's slant on what happened. What I saw was a thoughtful young man who was running scared. He claimed that he had been in the entertainment business from the time he was 14, and had been through all of the craziness that the entertainment business can bring. When he was offered the 50 million dollar contract, he was a 32 year old man with a wife and 2 children. He had just been offered so much money that it threatened to change his life forever. In the interviews, he claimed that it already had changed his life. There was enormous pressure on him to bring the show together. There was the question of whether or not he could trust those around him to give him good advice. He felt as if his inner circle had changed in the way they acted towards him. He questioned if he was going in the right direction with his comedy.

The same intelligence and insight that made me love Dave Chappelle as a comedian showed up in those interviews. This was a young man going through a crisis of the soul. Here was a man that was afraid of losing his core values to money and fame, and felt an obligation to himself and to his fans to reevaluate his life and his work. He took himself out of the entertainment circus, and has since lived a quiet life on his 65 acre farm in Yellow Springs Ohio with his wife and three children

Up Until Now, Only Sporadic Appearances

In 2005 and 2007 he did some shows in Los Angeles. At a charity event at the Seminole Indian Casino in 2011 he was greeted by many people in the audience filming him on their phones, and then heckling him. After one joke, he stopped the show and did nothing but walk around sighing and checking his text messages. His account of it in an interview on San Francisco's "Doghouse FM" radio show was that the audience didn't let him do anything. The whole front row starting to heckle him to the point that he was unable to continue the show. In June of this year he did a successful show in Dallas. Following that, however, he appeared at the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas and was heckled to the point where he couldn't even deliver his lines properly. He finished the show, but it was difficult. I read comments from people attending the show, and they said Dave was great, but that the hecklers were a bunch of jerks and that most of them were drunk.

Is Dave Back for Good?

The news that Dave is touring again is wonderful. His fans have missed his sharp, insightful humor so very much, and I hope that these tours mean that he's finally returning for good. It sure seems that way. Whatever he does, I wish him good luck and hope that he finds the happiness and balance that he is trying to achieve between his personal and professional life.

© 2012 Margaret Perrottet

Comments 30 comments

jennie34 4 years ago

I'm so glad that he's doing stand up again. He's one of my favorite comics of all time. I didn't know anything about the conspiracy theory. Some people must have too much time on their hands. Good article!

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

As stated in my hub, I'm really glad he's doing stand-up, and hope he keeps in the public eye. I thought the conspiracy theory was pretty funny, especially since he did an interview with Oprah after he got back from South Africa. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Gamerelated profile image

Gamerelated 4 years ago from California

This is a great article on Chappelle. I was wondering myself where he had disappeared to. He was really popular when he was on comedy central and then he kind of disappeared. Now I do know what happened. Good work.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Thanks for reading and commenting, Gamerelated - much appreciated!

Matt 4 years ago

"comedienne" means a female comedian.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Matt, thank you so much for the correction. Greatly appreciated - I hate having any mistakes like that in my articles.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Back in October there were rumors that Chappelle and Chris Rock may tour together. That would be great! I know I would go to see them. Thanks for reading and commenting, Chris.

Hezekiah profile image

Hezekiah 3 years ago from Japan

Nice hub and info. I really miss Dave Chappelle and the show. One of the funniest men alive.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Hezekiah - I still watch the reruns of the show. I sure do wish he'd come back. Glad you like the hub - thanks for reading!

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 3 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I can't imagine being that big and then feeling like I was trapped but it happens more often than not. Maybe it worked out for the best. Interesting hub.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Alecia Murphy - I think that sometimes the bigger you get, the more pressure is on you, and that's what is so disturbing. Glad you found this interesting - thanks so much for reading and commenting.

Ember 3 years ago

In a way, I feel that some of the very intricate chappelle theory may be truth. I mean some of it just doesn't make sense, but if you sort the facts from the speculation, then you may shed some light on why he may have left the mainstream media. I'm happy to hear of Dave's recent development, and it thrills me to hear anything about him really. (Seeing as he's been out of the publics eye for years) I hope that maybe he can become as popular as he was when the chappelle show started, and begin to slowly emerge more out of his early television retirement. Best of luck to Dave an my heart goes out to him and his family. Great article.

bleugirrl1 3 years ago

It's Yellow Springs, OH!!

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Ember - Maybe there really is something to those theories - I guess we'll never really know. I'm hoping that he'll make a big comeback some day as well.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

bluegirrl1 - Wow - thanks so much for catching that mistake! I must have Yellowstone on the brain since I wrote an article about Yellowstone National Park. Made the correction, and again - thanks!!

Nicole S profile image

Nicole S 3 years ago from Minnesota

I was curious as to what happened to him. nice hub!

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Nicole S - Hope this hub answered some of your questions as to what he's up to these days. Thanks so much for reading and commenting - greatly appreciated!

leighroy 3 years ago

Dave would definitely be welcome in Australia.

Our stand up is shit and after reviewing stand up on you tube - there are only two comedians that have funny shit - RIP Rodney Dangerfield & Dave & daylight after that.

Aussies arent into heckling good quality comics - if anything he would greatly bloody appreciated.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Dave - maybe we'll get lucky, and Dave will really return to stand up again, and you'll get to see him sometime. Thanks for reading and commenting!

ndiebunley 2 years ago

He is my favorite C. A strong black man.

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mperrottet 2 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

ndiebunley - mine too, and I agree - he seems very strong. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

alyce 2 years ago

I understand where he comes from fame changes the people your around he just wanted to make people laugh and do what he did best. But money changes the people around you

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mperrottet 2 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

alyce - That was exactly my take on it too. Thanks for stopping by.

letstalkabouteduc profile image

letstalkabouteduc 15 months ago from Bend, OR

Thanks for the update on Dave! Based on the interview with Anderson Cooper, Chappelle seems to have his head screwed on straight. Like a true artist, he's unwilling to compromise and only wants to offer the best of himself. Besides he seems to be living quite comfortably without the 50 million (if only the rest of us were so lucky). I don't understand why hecklers are allowed to interrupt his shows. Why doesn't security escort them out since this seems to keep happening?

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 15 months ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

letstalkaouteduc - thanks for stopping by and commenting. Don't know why hecklers seem to pop up at some of Dave's shows. I think it's because some of his old fans expect something other than what Dave is doing these days, and they're frustrated that he's not delivering some the stuff he did on his TV show.

Jeremi 11 months ago

I dont buy it, if he really just wanted to take time off to rais a family he would have just quit after the third season instead of quiting mid season and going to africa for no apparent reason at all. Doesnt add up.

mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 11 months ago from Pennsauken, NJ Author

Jeremi - I think it was more about being frightened that the money would change his life forever for the worst, and that his comedy was going in the wrong direction.

roob profile image

roob 7 months ago

I believe in an interview he said the media was saying he was smoking crack or something like that so he wanted to go to Africa to get away from it all, idk nevertheless very interesting!

Rita 3 months ago

I love Dave he is the best comdian ever........ I was so sad to see him go so suddenly. I understand what he was going through with what he was presented with when he fled to Aftrica and commend him for dropping everything for the safety of his soul. Thank goodness he is back a much needed and welcomed return. I hope and dream that one day I can meet this amazing man. I would love to talk with him and learn. Blessing and love to you Dave!!!!!

Scott Tanner 2 months ago

I miss Dave , he did more for our country to to end racism and the tension it causes than anyone. He embraced us all , exposing every stereotype there has ever been regardless of color , creed, or religion, and made us laugh and embrace our differences. I wish him well and hope he continues to follow his heart.

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