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Dave Chappelle and His Unmatched Controversial Comedy


Photo: IndieWire

Sean Nickol, Staff Writer

Dave Chappelle was born August 24, 1973, in Washington D.C. Chappelle was known in the 2000’s for his comedy sketches on Comedy Central called the Chappelle Show. The comedian was able to use his comedic talent in different ways like acting and writing. 

The comedian grew up in two different states. His mother lived in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she taught at multiple local colleges and universities. His father, though, lived in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he was also a teacher at Antioch University. Chappelle, before entering his comedian career, graduated from the Duke Ellington School of Arts in Washington in 1991. At the age of 14, Chappelle started his career as a comedian also in the Washington area. 

Pursuing his comedic career, he moved to New York. Before the age of 20, he quickly became a star, performing on television and becoming a major supporting role in 1993’s Mel Brooks’s “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.” Chappelle, in 1996, also co-starred in the short-lived comedy, “Buddies.” That same year, Chappelle had smaller roles in “The Nutty Professor,” that next year being in “Con Air.” In 1998, Chappelle and Neal Brennan released a comedy that he wrote and starred in themed around marijuana called “Half Baked”.

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Dave Chappelle and Jim Breuer Photo: ScreenCrush

That year his father passed away, causing the rising star to reevaluate his life. In 2000, Chappelle filmed the comedy special “Killin’ Them Softly.” Two years later, he’d film “Undercover Brother.” Continuing his rise to fame, at that point he still hadn’t reached his peak yet. That was until he got his own show in 2003 that landed on Comedy Central called “The Chappelle Show.” Chappelle received three Emmy Award nominations for his comedic but also controversial show. The comedian gained attention and interest from famous personalities such as Oprah Winfrey and James Lipton. After two seasons, Chappelle was offered $50 million for two years. 

The Chappelle Show, to begin its third season, was cut short shortly after Chappelle left during production in 2005. Being unhappy with the product of the show and where it was heading, he was also pressured by network executives to change the tone of the comedic series. Chappelle left the United States to visit South Africa. Moving to Yellow Springs, Ohio to live a more reclusive life, he only made a few spotlight appearances, one of his last in 2006 where he released his documentary, “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.” 

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Photo: MTV

Nearly after a decade in February of 2013, Dave Chappelle returned to the famous New York City comedy club  called The Comedy Cellar. Being joined by fellow comedian Chris Rock on stage, they excited their fans as they explored the idea of going on tour together. After the unexpected appearance, Chappelle made his big return to stand up comedy, performing multiple gigs in the South, being Atlanta, the Carolinas, and Tennessee. 

Chappelle made his return to the big screen in 2015’s Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq.” He also debuted on Netflix in 2017 for a series of specials. At the 2018’s Grammys, Chappelle won Best Comedy Album for “The Age of Spin & Deep in the Heart of Texas.” In 2018, he also enjoyed a supporting role in Bradley Cooper’s remake of “A Star Is Born.” In May 2019, the Kennedy Center named Chappelle the winner of its Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. A few months later, Netflix released another Chappelle stand-up special, the Grammy-winning “Sticks & Stones.” Chappelle, alongside fellow comedian Joe Rogan, has two shows coming up in Nashville, TN on April 24 and 25.