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Dave Chappelle says he ‘technically’ never quit ‘Chappelle’s Show’

Dave Chappelle doing stand-up routines with upcoming shows scheduled at Radio City Music Hall and back in the spotlight since walking away from his hit Comedy Central series “Chappelle’s Show” at the height of its popularity back in 2005. The comedian appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman” on Tuesday and used humor to explain his reasons for leaving the show in the middle of its third season.

Comedian Dave Chappelle attends the DVD signing of 'Dave Chappelle's Block Party' on June 13, 2006 in Culver City, California.
Photo by Chad Buchanan/Getty Images

Chappelle’s motivation behind leaving the show was never made clear in his absence and was basically left up to speculation, which of course opened up many rumors. The stand-up comedian apparently just needed a prolonged break. He told David Letterman in the interview, “Technically I never quit. I’m sever years late for work.”

The network did try to continue the show in Chappelle’s absence, but finally had to cancel the show as there was no way it could continue without its star. In his first interview in years, Chappelle’s interview with Letterman had its tense moments, especially when he got serious about the time surrounding his decision to abandon the show and his fans. He did talk about the money offered to him by the network to continue the show. He accepted the “enormous sum of money,” but walked away for reasons that remain unclear.

He tried to sum it up by comparing his financial situation at the time to that of eating in a fancy restaurant where people of different wealthy income brackets are eating the same entrée. “The difference in lifestyle is minuscule. The only difference between having 10 million dollars and 50 million dollars – is an astounding 40 million dollars.”

The former Comedy Central star signed a deal worth reportedly $50 million and walked away from it, which he admitted people think he is crazy for doing. As far as regret, there seemed to be a little of that as he joked that he “might be happier.” There is no way of knowing seven years later and Chappelle has moved on. As far as whether his life would have been different if he didn’t want away, he said, “There’s no way of knowing. But sometimes I listen to a Jay Z record and it starts to make me feel bad about some of the choices I made. This guy’s had more fun in two songs than I’ve had in the last 11 years.”

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