Dave Chappelle hadn’t discussed his decision to leave his Comedy Central sketch series Chappelle’s Show in 2005 since his sit-down with Oprah in 2006. But all of that changed Tuesday night when he appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman.
During the appearance to promote his upcoming shows at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall, Chappelle joked that he never really quit Chappelle’s Show but is instead “seven years late for work.”
Chappelle talked to Letterman about the $50 million contract Comedy Central had laid out for him that he walked away from, saying, “I look at it like this: I’m at a restaurant with my wife, it’s a nice restaurant and we’re eating dinner. I look across the room and say, ‘You see this guy across the room. He has $100 million, and we’re eating the same entree.’
“OK, fine, I don’t have $50 million or whatever it was. Let’s say I have $10 million in the bank. The difference in lifestyle is minuscule. The only difference between having $10 million and $50 million is an astounding $40 million,” Chappelle continued.
Chappelle did say that in retrospect he has had a variety of feelings about his decision: “You do what you feel like you need to do,” and although he does realize there’s more he could have done with the amount of money he would have received, he appreciates “the free time to do the things that I get to do.”
Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.