Dave Chappelle says he is thrilled to be back on stage again.
“It’s been wonderful,” Chappelle told People magazine Sunday at the 20th Annual Essence Festival in New Orleans. “Being back, what I’ve found this year is that everywhere I’ve gone, people have been overwhelmingly supportive.”
The comedian sold out nine Radio City Music Hall performances last month and says he’s back where he belongs.
The 40-year-old told the magazine he left his hit show, Chappelle’s Show, in 2005 because family took precedence over his career.
“I never stopped being on stage. What I did was step off of the main stage,” he said. “That kind of attention wouldn’t have been conducive to raising a family.”
— ESSENCE Festival (@essencefest) July 7, 2014
— Beats Music (@beatsmusic) June 28, 2014
— HuffPost BlackVoices (@blackvoices) June 21, 2014
Chappelle surprised the world when he gave up his $50 million dollar contract with Comedy Central to go explore Africa. Though he likely doesn’t regret his decision to leave the spotlight, the comedian still missed being on stage.
“The audience-comedian relationship is one of the more consistent relationships in my life,” he said. “I started doing this at such a young age, that not doing it was alien. [Being back] has been a healing experience. I couldn’t even tell people what it means to me. It’s sincerely a pleasure to entertain.”
In June, Chappelle made a stop by the Late Show with David Letterman and explained — sort of — why he left the way he did.
“Technically, I never quit. I’m seven years late for work,” Chappelle jokingly told Letterman.
The comedian also clarified some misconceptions about that infamous disappearing act to South Africa in 2005, stating that he never actually lived there.
“I was there for two weeks,” Chappelle said. “I mean, there’s not too many good hiding places left in America.”
— Letterman (@Letterman) June 10, 2014
Chappelle and his wife, Elaine, have two sons, Sulayman and Ibrahim, and daughter Sonal.
Image via Wikimedia Commons