Dave Chappelle is a mythical figure in the world of comedy. For years we didn’t hear much from the legendary comedian, allowing people to make their own rumors and assumptions about him. But in the last few years, Chappelle has maintained a relatively high profile, releasing multiple standup specials and doing interviews. Recently, Chappelle sat down with fellow comedian Joe Rogan on the latest episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, where the two talked for over three hours on a multitude of subjects.
The two first discussed how pivotal fans of Chappelle’s Show were in getting the hit series on streaming services. “It wasn’t a court of law,” Chappelle said. “I don’t believe I would have got anything in a court of law. I think, in the court of public opinion, it was a good time for me to say my piece and through the years it wasn’t something I would harp on. … It was something I was actually reluctant to talk about.”
Rogan then went on to ask Chappelle what he did in the years between his departure from Chappelle’s Show and his return to standup comedy.
“I learned a lot,” Chappelle said. “It was a humble existence. I had young children and I was raising my kids. I was living a suburban life. And then every once in a while, I’d get this feeling like, I’m the funniest guy. I gotta get out there. And I would, like, fly to Denver and do a week in Denver or something. … I would perform like I was desperate for it.”
Chappelle also talked about how important his brief stint in the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity festival tour in 2013 was to him.
“I had a good run…for the most part the tour went good,” he said. “But it was a tough tour for me. It was a long show. I had to close it. My chops weren’t as tight as they normally were but I wasn’t, I didn’t suck by any means. But, you know, it could have been better. It was humbling but it made me wanna go back.”
As for his return to the spotlight and standup comedy, Chappelle said that when he turned 40, he decided that he just wanted to have fun. He then brought up the recent deaths of DMX and Black Rob as inspiration to continue to live his life to the fullest.
“It’s not a midlife crisis,” he said. “It’s the opposite of that. It’s like, look, I know I don’t get to stay here forever. My time is limited and precious and I don’t take any of these things for granted. I don’t take this money for granted, this platform. And I’m not talking about the fame platform. I’m talking about comedy, this genre. This genre has been so good for me.”
You can watch the full episode here.