“Haters wanna hate, lovers wanna love. I don’t even want, none of the above. I wanna see Dave Chappelle back on my television screen by any means necessary.” Yes, I’ve altered the lyrics to Chappelle’s epic R Kelly spoof, “Piss On You” to better fit the occasion, which is the rumor that Dave Chappelle could be returning to the smaller screen, except, this time, it doesn’t look like Comedy Central will be involved.
No, if the rumor is correct, Chappelle will be taking a page from the upcoming Kevin Spacey show that will appear on Netflix and apparently debut his new material on a subscription-based platform. Before the rumor is addressed, a little history on Dave Chappelle’s stint with television. After his first two successful seasons on Comedy Central, featuring such gems like the lead video, the Clayton Bigsby skit, the Racial Draft, and the Charlie Murphy stories about Rick James, to name a few, Chappelle was rewarded with a $55 million contract to continue making Chappelle’s Show. Shortly after the contract was made public, Chappelle famously walked away from the agreement, for reasons he shared with Oprah Winfrey.
Since his unexpected departure, Chappelle has been doing various projects, but none have brought him the recognition he received while on Comedy Central, which is something he wanted to begin with. Nevertheless, the man behind the brilliant Killing Them Softly HBO stand up has never fully fallen out of the public’s eye, much like Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson. Although both of these creative geniuses willingly walked away from the jewels they created, the public is always on the lookout for their comeback.
While that may be out of the question with Watterson, if the rumors of Chappelle’s return are valid, it’s obvious the itch to entertain the masses hasn’t been properly scratched. Now, before you start celebrating the his potential return, the rumor should be directly addressed. The rumor of Chappelle’s return is featured at The Daily, and it’s their sources who indicate the paid-subscription model would be the method of content delivery. The Daily has more:
“Dave Chappelle’s going back to TV,” tattled our insider. “It’s not for a network. It’s for Netflix or Crackle or some other subscription service.”
While there has been no verification from Chappelle or his camp, the idea is simply to enticing to ignore. Netflix is mentioned because it’s an obvious choice, but they aren’t the only subscription service in the rumor. Sony’s Crackle service and Hulu are both indicated as possibilities for Chappelle’s new show, provided the rumor is accurate. As for why Chappelle would prefer such a content delivery method, The Daily indicates he’d have the creative control he lacked at Comedy Central.
With Netflix’s upcoming House of Cards, the aforementioned Kevin Spacey project, and the viability of streaming video content, the rumor certainly makes sense, especially when you consider Chappelle’s struggles with control. The fact that companies like Netflix and Hulu are feverishly trying to expand to the original content section of streaming, and the buzz Chappelle’s name continues to offer, makes such a marriage look promising. Chappelle would be happy doing his stuff without input from suits, while Netflix or Hulu would be happy with such a buzz-worthy name in the original content stable.
As for the validity of the rumor, it’s hard to say. Chappelle or his camp — provided he still has one — hasn’t offered anything in the way of confirmation or denial, so all we have right now is The Daily’s report, which has hit the wires and is being reported at a number of publications. Because the rumor is so enticing, here’s another gem from Chappelle’s Show, and it should provide insight as to why people would be excited about his return: