Hey, did you hear that Dave Chapelle is back? Gawker reported over the weekend that “Dave Chappelle is Back (Well Maybe),” on the occasion of Chappelle starting a ten-night residency at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
That’s not to be confused with another Gawker headline, also, “Dave Chappelle is Back,” back in March, in anticipation of the Radio City shows. Or CNN’s report, that “Dave Chappelle is Back,” back in June of 2013. Esquire took the alternate take (“Dave Chappelle Should’ve Never Come Back,”) and that was last September. Remember those stories about Chappelle getting booed for an entire show in Hartford? That was almost a year ago.
The comedy site The Humor Mill reported “Dave Chappelle is Back on Stage”- in June 2012. A performance at Def Comedy Jam was promoted as “Dave Chappelle is Back,” and that was in September 2011. A clip of Chappelle doing standup- with the title “Dave Chappelle is Back”- was posted to eBaumsWorld, in 2007. You may remember that Chappelle made headlines for trading the “standup comedy endurance record” with Dane Cook, and that was in 2006 and 2007. MTV reported that Chappelle was “back on stage”- in September 2005.
There have also been “the return of Dave Chappelle” news stories throughout the past several years. And that’s to say nothing of the various times Chappelle has given interviews, to the likes of Oprah and James Lipton, in which he’s given varied explanations of why he left the Comedy Central show.
The idea that seems to be in most people’s heads is that Chappelle walked away from Chappelle’s Show in 2005, had been lying low and staying almost completely out of public view ever since, until now, right at this moment, he’s suddenly back. But that’s not really true.
This may be the comedian’s first full-on tour in awhile, and his first high-profile gig in New York in a few years, but Chappelle has been working pretty consistently for most of the past eight years. He never announced his retirement, nor did he ever disappear completely or become “reclusive.”
So next time you see a “Dave Chappelle is Back” story, remember- he never actually left.