Netflix has removed Chappelle’s Show at the request of Dave Chappelle, who gets paid $20 million a special. It was exciting when the comedian’s Comedy Central show was made available to stream, but it wasn’t exciting for Chappelle. He didn’t see a dime from the deal, as he noted when he hosted a great post-election episode of Saturday Night Live. Since Netflix is kind to Chappelle, the company has deleted the series from its platform.
Netflix, of course, wants to stay in the Dave Chappelle business. Not only that, the company wanted to do right by the comedian. He’s had a notoriously unpleasant relationship with Comedy Central, a company that took advantage of him and tried to ruin his show. “They (ViacomCBS) didn’t have to pay me because I signed the contract,” Chappelle said. “But is that right? I found out that these people were streaming my work and they never had to ask me or they never have to tell me. Perfectly legal ‘cause I signed the contract. But is that right? I didn’t think so either.”
Chappelle went on to praise the business for doing the right thing. “That’s why I like working for Netflix,” he added. “I like working for Netflix because when all those bad things happened to me, that company didn’t even exist. And when I found out they were streaming ‘Chappelle’s Show,’ I was furious. How could they not– how could they not know? So you know what I did? I called them and I told them that this makes me feel bad. And you want to know what they did? They agreed that they would take it off their platform just so I could feel better.”
Chappelle posted his response on Instagram, although he doesn’t spend much of or any of his time on social media. Netflix didn’t comment. The three seasons of Chappelle’s Show, although there are technically only two full seasons, are still available to stream via Comedy Central, CBS All Access, and HBO Max. Again, the comedian isn’t seeing a dime from any of it.
Famously, Chappelle left the show when creative and personal differences made the show a chore to produce. The comic co-created the iconic comedy series with Neal Brennan, who’s gone on to have a successful career in stand-up, as well. The first two seasons are comedy gold, groundbreaking comedy for Comedy Central and sketch comedy.
After those two seasons, however, Comedy Central started to steer the series in a direction that made Chappelle uncomfortable. He was uncomfortable enough to turn down $50 million. After rejecting their offer and leaving the third season unfinished, awful rumors (aka lies) about Chappelle were tossed out into the wind. The comedian took a break from the spotlight.
He roared back, though. Chappelle’s return to the mainstream was an event after all the years without a special and consistent output made available to the public. Almost always, less is more. The comedian has won Emmys, scored big paychecks from Netflix, and makes the people who hate his comedy even talk about his comedy. Chappelle’s comedy, whether you love it or hate it, is a major part of pop culture now. He’s at the top. And on top of being on top, the comic also turned in an authentic performance in Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born.
Most recently, Chappelle has been performing shows in his hometown in Ohio. He did a summer series of comedy shows, inviting comics such as Ali Wong, Jon Stewart, Louis CK, Sarah Silverman, and others to perform. He released a half-hour special on Netflix earlier this year, too. Right now, we patiently await the arrival of the comedian’s next one-hour special on Netflix. The streaming service is, as Chappelle calls it, his comedy home.