Dave Chappelle announces a 5-show residency on Broadway this July. Throughout his extensive comedic career, Chappelle has gained an enormous following, and established himself as one of the most intriguing and often mysterious figures working in comedy today.
That being said, it’s been a long road back for Chappelle, after he walked away from his highly successful sketch comedy series, Chappelle’s Show, in 2005. At the time, Chappelle’s Show was preparing for its third season, and Chappelle had a $50 million contract with Comedy Central. Without any warning or indication that he was planning to go, Chappelle fled America for South Africa, prompting rumors that he was battling a substance addiction or suffering from psychological issues. The truth, as was later revealed by Chappelle upon his return (and subsequent departure from Comedy Central), was that the stress and intense workload of his sketch comedy series was too much for him. It was a distraction from doing stand-up, which was what the famed comedian cared most for.
Now, according to Deadline, Chappelle will be doing what he loves most this summer in New York City. The 45-year-old comedian has booked a 5-show residency on Broadway from July 9-13. Tickets for the series of shows will go on sale Friday, June 14. Unsurprisingly, the 5-night stint is expected to sell out immediately. The residency will also mark the first time that Chappelle has played Broadway.
It took some time for Chappelle to recover from the stress and media frenzy that marked his departure from his sketch series and Comedy Central. For a long period afterward, many thought the comedian’s career may be over, but little by little, Chappelle began getting back into stand-up, even setting an endurance record in 2007 after his set at Los Angeles’ famed Laugh Factory lasted over six hours. Though Chappelle’s comedy shows have since become a more commonplace occurrence, his often-unpredictable behavior continues, and he has had more than his share of difficulties with audiences and racist hecklers. Most recently, Chappelle released four stand-up specials for Netflix, some of which garnered criticism from LGBTQ and women’s rights advocates due to jokes at the expense of both groups.
Despite his sometimes-controversial content, Chappelle continues to find huge success with his stand-up shows, and his upcoming stint in New York shouldn’t be any different. There are few comedians in 2019 who have escaped criticism for their material, and Chappelle is not alone in criticizing a social climate that he often feels is hostile to comedy. But as funny as Chappelle is and can be, some of his previous stand-up (particularly his most recent Netflix specials The Bird Revelation and Equanimity) came off as didactic at points, with the comedian creating a lecturing vibe rather than an entertaining one. Still, it can’t be denied that Chappelle has his own style, and love him or hate him, he remains one of the biggest draws in comedy.