Chappelle talks: Why I walked away.

Culturally: “The bottom line was, white people own everything, and where can a black person go and be himself or say something that’s familiar to him and not have to explain or apologize?”

Professionally: “I felt like I was really pressured to settle for something that I didn’t necessarily feel like I wanted.”

Personally: “The thing about show business is that, in a way, it forces dysfunctional relationships in people.”

So…pretty much exactly what everybody assumed made him leave. It’s a shame, because his show was genius. White people own everything, huh? Wonder how much he could have owned with that $50 million.

Why not go over to BET then?

If a white person were to say something similary a derogatory as Chappelle did they would be pillored. All he was short of doing was blaming the “Jews”.

I don’t know…um…almost anywhere? Jackass.

BTW- I of course mean Chappelle is the jackass, not Ogre, as it may appear due to my clumsy formatting.

I don’t see how this stunning revelation is any different, clearer, or more explanatory than the mumbo-jumbo he gave by way of “explanation” on either Inside the Actor’s Studio or Oprah.

And in 6 months, he’ll come out with his own tell-all book, entitled “The Whole Truth- Why I Walked Away”.

Thanks for the info, Dave. :rolleyes:

God…what a crock.

Between the popularity of hip-hop and R&B in the music world to the countless other black comedians and entertainment personalitied, I’d say bringing up his race is pretty irrelevant.

I have never liked Dave Chapelle’s humor anyway. Race doesn’t make me laugh. Jokes about the differences between white people and black people are not funny to me. They’re not offensive, I just don’t find them funny. The same tired old jokes about the “culture clash” of black and white, in some form or another, are a fall-back for comedians without truly original material.

If white people own everything, where in the hell is my residual check!!!

That article was merely a heads up for the actual article being released Saturday. Shouldn’t we wait until then for a real discussion instead of going off of those three quotes, especially since they don’t say much on their own?

I think that he had a nervous breakdown. It sounds similar to Tony Orlando’s crackup in the 70s.

Maybe this isn’t the right forum for this question, but why do white people react this way so often when anyone alleges that racism still exists and is still affecting the lives of black people and other people of color in America? The idea that racism is ended and black people should just get over it is either extremely naive or patronizingly disingenuous. It reminds of me of the philosophy espoused to such cartoonish effect Bruno’s from Black & White.

$50 million does not begin to dream of touching what white people own in this country and world. I don’t see how it is racist of Chappelle to point this out; it’s affecting how he feels about his contribution to the culture. Isn’t that entirely within his right to formulate? Might it not inform his decision about whether or not to accept $50 million to keep doing it? It’s easy to focus on popular American culture in the last few decades and try to forget, dimish, or block out everything that came (so relatively recently) before with race relations in America, especially if it only affects you indirectly, when something happens like your favorite comedian du jour no longer doing his show.

I have concluded, based on what I’ve seen, that Chappelle had some epiphany about racism and what his act was doing (or not doing) for race relations in America. He made an ethical decision for himself, his family, and his sanity to stop doing it. I don’t think anyone has a justification to toss a :rolleyes: his way. His decision is admirable if it’s what he felt was right. Seems like a personal, complicated decision that I don’t have a right to dismiss. Neither is anyone in a position to say he’s having a nervous breakdown because he decided not to make the show anymore or to turn down $50 million. I feel like people are thinking he’s crazy just because he turned down the money, which is kind of a reductive reading of the whole thing IMO.

Might be I’m getting on a soapbox about this because I’ve been thinking about these issues so much as been a major topic of discussion and concern in secondary education. Been having a lot of frank conversation with many people about how things are outside of the limited world I’ve been in most of my life. My conclusion is it’s hard for people to grasp what life is like for people with such different cultural identites, and that a lot of white people who bluster and scoff about racism are either clueless, really full of crap, or a combination of both. Calling Chappelle a jackass definitely seems unwarranted under the circumstances.

Possibly too much said for this thread… I’m out.

He’s comparing apples and oranges. $50 million going to one guy for one show for how many years doesn’t compare with the wealth of all the white people in the world? Well no shit. I’ll tell you one thing though, it’s a damn sight more than this white boy will probably ever see in his lifetime, let alone have given to me for a year or two of work.

It’s not racist for him to point it out, it’s just stupid. No, Dave, $50 million doesn’t make up for years of slavery and years of actual discrimination and years of institutionalized discrimination. It isn’t supposed to. It’s a salary being paid to you for work you’re doing now, not a statement on race relations in America for the past 300 years.

If he wanted to be in an environment where he wasn’t likely to be misinterpreted (not that he actually was being misinterpreted all that much, IIRC), I’m sure BET would have loved to have him. Seems to me the fact that he was on a widely-watched cable network NOT targeted at his own race speaks more for race relations though. Also seems to me that if he’s disgusted at race relations, as Ogre touched on, I’d bet I could find something to do with $50 million to help.

I’m not sure what “way” you think they’re (I’m) reacting. Please clarify (or open a new thread so as not to continue the hijack).

My guess? In a defensive way.

I agree with Rubystreak. It seems to me that many white people are unable or unwilling to relate the history of racism in this country to societal conditions today. It’s not like racial discrimination is a thing of the far-distant past. We still live in a country where a man like Strom Thurmond could be re-elected to Congress. Redlining was a common practice (and may still be, despite the laws) well into the 1970s. Racism is not an historical artifact, it’s something that we as a society are continuing to deal with in more or less overt ways.

When Chappelle says that (in the context of the show) he couldn’t be himself as a black man without explaining or apologizing, I get it completely. I can understand why he would be tired of dealing with a white corporate structure to which he constantly had to explain himself.

And I say this as an often clueless white woman who grew up and lives in an overwhelmingly Anglo/Hispanic community. If I can see it with my rather limited perspective, it seems to me that it’s not all in Chappelle’s (or any other black person’s) imagination.

If this is what your criticism is about, it kind of confirms what I said, doesn’t it?

No, it would be payment for work that would be performed and/or aired in the future, which he has decided he doesn’t want to happen. It’s not a matter of “making up” for anything. It’s informed by past events but really, it’s a matter of society as it is RIGHT NOW and what he wants to contribute to it. I don’t see how it’s stupid of him to reevaluate his work and decide not to share it if he thinks it’s wrong to do so, which clearly he does.

Do you think that people who were fans of *Chappelle’s Show * would just not watch the show if it was on BET? I doubt it. I think he made this decision after he signed the contract with Comedy Central, so going to BET was probably not an option (though I’m not sure of this). Also, I get the sense that he just did not want it out there at all, regardless of the forum.

Maybe he thinks the best thing he can do is NOT perform the stuff he was offering on the show, and he doesn’t want to accept money for it anymore either. Isn’t that his prerogative? What is so stupid about that?

I thought I was clear to the point of belaboring the argument. You don’t get why Chappelle is doing this and are interpreting his decision from your own point of view, which is not really relevant. He made an intensely personal, ethically-based choice that defied American expectations and Hollywood norms. Your (and others’) comments sound so dismissive and scornful and I don’t think it’s justified. No one has the right to say that he should have released material that he thought was wrong and call him crazy or stupid if he won’t. What kind of person would he be if he believed what his work was inimical to his beliefs and goals, but took the money and did the show anyway?

If you want to get into it with me further on topic not directly related to DC, you can open another thread, though I make no promises about the amount of time I can spend here in the immediate future. Someone else might have to argue with you about it :stuck_out_tongue: . I realize I’m not sufficiently proofreading as it is… sorry about that.

His answers make me more confused than I was before, unless his management was simply lying. I mean, CC claimed to have offered him a boatload of money, complete creative control, and total forgiveness for going awol. They just wanted him back. He could even take his time, if he liked. There are very few artists who can attract an offer like that of any color or creed. I’m having a hard time putting “50 mil and total control” together with “dysfunctional”, but maybe a lot more was going on backstage. What that might have been to make him walk away from such a sweet deal…well, what would make someone do that?

It’s not primarily what the criticism was about, just a statement that $50 million not touching what “white people” own is so broad a statement as to be meaningless.

If he doesn’t WANT to do his show anymore, for whatever reason, that’s certainly his choice to make, and it doesn’t personally affect me one way or the other (especially since I watched it once or twice and wasn’t particularly interested, and moved on). I just don’t particularly agree with his reasoning, as I perceive it to be.

I’m not saying he’s crazy and stupid for not releasing material he thinks is wrong. I’m saying the reasoning he’s giving for not doing it is nonsensical, from my point of view.

And of course I’m interpreting it from my point of view. Don’t we all?

I know his family had a lot of problems with the show. I doubt CC made the deal as sweet as they say it was. Chappelle said he wanted more “personal and creative freedom,” so that seems like a contradiction to CC’s claims. I get the sense something happened to convince him the show just wasn’t a good idea… maybe the eps he had in the can when he decided this were ones he didn’t want to air, so he broke the contract for the entire season? I don’t know.

To amplify what I said before in a more succinct way: white people have a stake in dismissing the idea of current racism. We are hardly objective about it and a lot of that stems from defensiveness and guilt.

It was brave as hell of Chappelle to walk away from all that money and fame because he thought it was wrong. Efforts to discredit him seem like discrediting his feeling that racism still exists, that he was being part of the problem from his POV and that couldn’t do the act he wanted to do anymore. Is it so hard to believe that this was a rational choice based on his situation, of which we have limited knowledge for so many reasons?

I am among the people who is sad to see Chappelle’s Show go, but I think DC will cotinue to work and be interesting to watch.

Can you accept that your POV might make it impossible for you to understand his decision? Which doesn’t undermine the validity of the decision whatsoever? Thus, calling it stupid or crazy is, well, not exactly the most erudite or open-minded interpretation of the whole thing.

“White people own everything” is horseshit, pure horseshit.

Tell that to all the dirt-poor blue-collar whites all over this country. The descendents of Scotch-Irish indentured servants (read: WHITE SLAVES) who are screwed out of their homes and farms, maimed and killed working in factories and mines or get cancer from toxic chemicals, their children born into lives of alcoholism and crystal meth and domestic abuse.

RICH PEOPLE own everything. Rich whites, rich Arabs, rich Japanese, rich Hispanics, rich blacks, RICH PEOPLE.

The divide in this country is a class divide, not a race divide. The black poor and white poor share the same fate.

It doesn’t begin to dream of touching what black people own in theis world either.

It always seemed to me that he made fun of black people as much as he made fun of whites. Maybe he felt guilty because “The Man” was therefore paying him $25 million to make fun of black people.

If that’s the case, then he lost the point that I thought made his comedy so good…that there’s really no freaking difference between the races at all.

To bew honest, I think he’s stuck in Old Chapelle, and soesn’t want to ruin his niche. He was comfortable in his understated familiarity. Ironically he made a bigger controversy by just trying to escape. I feel sorry for him.

I tend to believe he’s a little paranoid, too.