Dave Chappelle's sudden departure from his lucrative and acclaimed comedy series, Chappelle's Show, in 2005, stunned both fans and industry insiders alike. Speculation went rampant about a mental breakdown, salary negotiations and creative differences as possible reasons for his leaving the series.
Now, Chappelle reveals for the first time his real reasons for opting out of the show. And it has nothing to do with money. "I never stopped being onstage. What I did was step off of the main stage," he told People magazine after a series of performances at New York City's Radio City Music Hall.
"The audience-comedian relationship is one of the more consistent relationships in my life," he told the mag. "I started doing this at such a young age that not doing it was alien."
Chappelle returned to his former home in New York City after nearly 10 years for nine sold-out stand-up shows from June 18-26. "I couldn't even tell people what it means to me. It's sincerely a pleasure to entertain."
Would Chappelle ever make a comeback to the limelight? Probably not. "That kind of attention wouldn't have been conducive to raising a family," he said. "There are other things in my life that I did not purchase with money that are very valuable."
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(Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)