Dave Chappelle

  • Birth Name: David Khari Webber Chappelle
  • Birth Place: Washington, District of Columbia, United States
  • Profession: Comedian, Actor, Screenwriter, Producer
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Biography

Dave Chappelle began doing stand-up at age 14. After making his film debut at 20 with a silly supporting role in Mel Brooks' Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Chappelle spent the next decade toiling in similar parts (Tom Hanks' best friend in You've Got Mail, the short-lived sitcom Buddies) that failed to capitalize on his talents. The cult stoner flick Half Baked, which he also wrote, and a few stand-up specials were the only projects that gave an indication of his success to come. In 2003, Chappelle's Show---a hybrid of stand-up, surreal sketches and music---premiered on Comedy Central, and he became a household name overnight. Whether portraying the famous (a basketball-playing Prince, a "bitch"-screaming Rick James) or the fictional (a crackhead competing on Survivor, a blind black man who happens to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan), Chappelle was consistently hilarious, and the show was popular both when it aired and in its subsequent DVD release. In early 2005, the sudden star signed a reported $50 million deal with Comedy Central's parent company, Viacom, for two more years. But in May, in the midst of filming Season 3, Chappelle disappeared, prompting rumors of drug abuse and mental instability. He soon resurfaced in South Africa, where he said he went for a "spiritual retreat." In 2006 he explained his erratic actions on the talk-show circuit, telling Oprah Winfrey and Inside the Actors Studio's James Lipton that he bailed because he felt like "a prostitute" and had begun questioning whether he was "dancing or shuffling," meaning he wondered whether people were laughing with him or at him. Although Comedy Central did air segments from the aborted third season in the summer of 2006, Chappelle never went back to his eponymous series. Instead he returned to his stand-up roots. He has an ongoing rivalry with comedian Dave Cook in stand-up endurance at the Laugh Factory comedy club. Chappelle bested Cook's record of three hours and 50 minutes in April 2007. He then beat his own record in December 2007, with a stand-up set clocking in at a whopping six hours and 12 minutes. Cook reclaimed the record with a seven-hour set in January 2008.

Fast Facts

  • Decided he wanted to be a comic at age 14, after reading an article about Bill Cosby.
  • At 1989, performed (and was booed) at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem.
  • Considers Richard Pryor to be the funniest stand-up of all time.
  • The second-season release of Chappelle's Show on DVD sold 500,000 copies on the first day and 1.2 million copies the first week.

Awards

  • 2018, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 2020, Producers Guild Awards — Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television: Nominee
  • 2004, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2019, Grammy — Best Comedy Album: Winner
  • 2004, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 2017, Grammy — Best Comedy Album: Winner
  • 2018, Grammy — Best Comedy Album: Winner
  • 2005, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special: Nominee
  • 2017, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Winner

Relationships

  • William Chappelle — Father
  • Sonal — Daughter
  • Elaine Chappelle — Wife
  • Sulayman — Son
  • Yvonne Seon — Mother
  • William David Chapellle III — Father
  • Yvonne K. Chappelle Seon — Mother
  • Elaine Mendoza Erfe — Wife
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