Dave Chappelle made his first late-night appearance in more than six years Tuesday when he appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and one of the first questions he was asked was why he quit his cult sketch comedy show “Chappelle’s Show.”
“I don’t talk about it,” Chappelle said before jokingly adding, “Technically, I never quit. I’m seven years late for work.”
The 40-year-old comic rose to fame with his stand-up comedy and his roles in films such as “You’ve Got Mail” and “Half Baked.”
It was Chappelle’s Comedy Central show “Chappelle’s Show” that garnered his hugest fan base, however, where he played notable characters such as Tyrone Biggums and created memorable sketches such as “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong”.
That show ended in 2006.
Chappelle went on to compare his departure from the show to marriage and divorce in the 1950’s, saying “People didn’t go to divorce court. They just look at their wife and were like, ‘I’m going to go get a pack of cigarettes. I’ll be right back.’ They just leave with the clothes on their back and make a go of it.”
Chappelle also eluded that his leaving the show may have been for compensation concerns.
“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 see this guy eating dinner and I 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 miniscule. The only difference between having $10 million and $50 million is an astounding $40 million. Of course I would like to have that money.”
It’s been 10 years since Chappelle did his last interview with David Letterman, who will be retiring from “The Late Show” in 2015, and it’s been six years since Chappelle’s last interview on a late-night show; the last one being “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” in 2008.
The D.C.-born comedian appeared on the “Late Show” to promote his upcoming string of live shows at Radio City Music Hall that will feature performances by Nas and Erykah Badu.
Shawn Thomas writes Entertainment & Lifestyle content for CBS Local. Follow him on Twitter.