Sunday, May 15, 2005

My Brilliant Career: Dave Chapelle just walks away from 50 Mil -- and why it -- he -- is NOT crazy

no, not whacko---but like Maureen Orth (Mrs. Tim Russert) likes to say about the Celebrity Industrial Complex (in her book "The Importance of being Famous"), "we have another case of when fame and infamy are coming together."

UN-SPUN, Part 1: Dave Chapelle is undoing his own "spin" -- whether it came out from Viacom PR guy Tony Fix or Chapelle's own spokesman Matt Labov, it does not matter: Dave Chappelle is doing the talking, and is making perfect sense of it all. If the man wants to quit, he can quit, period. He is not insane, or in a mental health facility in South Africa. Hogwash. He says that he is just tired of the suits saying "The people want blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah" {I CAN'T HEAR YOU YOU ANYMORE}

In this week's TIME, Christopher John Farley reveals why Dave Chappelle decided to leave his hit show and what he's been up to since he disappeared to South Africa two weeks ago. Last Friday night, TIME Johannesburg bureau chief Simon Robinson met with the comic at uShaka Marine World on the beach in the South African port of Durban. In a ninety minute conversation, Chappelle was eager to set the record straight on why he suddenly left the U.S. and what he's doing in South Africa. Here's Robinson's account:

Dave Chappelle shows up to our interview in a red t-shirt, blue jeans and shiny white sneakers. He lopes around in his usual style, pacing a lot, but does not seem like a man struggling to speak or to order his thoughts at all. He's lucid and thoughtful and a couple of times asks me to give him some time to think about answers. He concedes that he is dealing with a lot of issues and mentions that he had consulted a psychiatrist about a week ago for a forty minute session. He is also quite fastidious about keeping his new sneakers clean and stops at least twice to wipe smudges off their toes.

The first thing Chappelle wants is to dispel rumors—that he's got a drug problem, that he's checked into a mental institution in Durban—that have been flying around the U.S. for the past week. He says he is staying with a friend, Salim Domar, and not in a mental institution, as has been widely reported in America. Chappelle says he is in South Africa to find "a quiet place" for a while. "Let me tell you the things I can do here which I can't at home: think, eat, sleep, laugh. I'm an introspective dude. I enjoy my own thoughts sometimes. And I've been doing a lot of thinking here." [MORE]:,8599,1061415,00.html

You can read Farley's story on Chappelle here

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