UPDATE: APRIL FOOLS!!!! - Sorry for Any Stress We Caused!
Chappelle's Show was easily one of the biggest comedy sensations of the early 2000s. The brainchild of comedian pals Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan, the sketch show skewered issues of race, politics and culture in hilarious (often controversial) ways. After two highly-rated seasons on Comedy Central, Chappelle's Show (and the man it's named after) hit the proverbial wall, in what remains one of the messiest and most perplexing public meltdowns in TV.
The aftermath of that disintegration ($50 million left on the table, Dave Chappelle fleeing to Africa), had the public holding out hope that Chappelle's Show could one day return... only to see those same hopes shrink year after year. Well, today is a day that faith is rewarded: Chappelle's Show is coming back to TV in 2014, with its original cast and crew in tow.
TMZ was the first outlet to break the news of Chappelle's Show's return. The site ran a video from amateur paparazzo "Sal Ripolof," who caught Chappelle outside of a San Francisco nightclub on Friday night, where the comedian had been doing a standup set (one of many in recent weeks).
When asked how it has been doing comedy again, Chappelle was surprisingly candid, stating:
Great, man, great. Stand-up has always been my first love, you know? Doing sets like this, with crowds like this, it's really brought me... back to center. I feel like I'm in a good, funny place right now.
When Sal Ripolof followed up with a question about what Chappelle has planned next, he ended up getting the answer of the year:
Well, Neal [Brennan] and I are currently talking to Comedy Central about another season of 'Chappelle's Show.' 'Breaking News!' I know. But we've kind of patched things up between us and the network and we think we have a good idea of where to take things and how to handle all that. So it's happening.
He then added (after a cigarette puff):
Africa was nice, man, but I think everybody is ready to start getting this money again. Plus, there's a black president now - how could I not come back?" (Smiles)
Chappelle's somewhat cavalier words actually provide a great deal of insight. He and Chappelle's Show co-creator Neal Brennan had a very public falling out when things fell apart in spring of 2005; Dave fled to Africa for unknown reasons without giving any prior warning to Brennan or the rest of the show's crew. In the aftermath of that meltodwn, Brennan repeatedly stated in interviews that he would never work with Chappelle again, while Dave criticized Neal for not reaching out to help him in his time of need. For all intents and purposes, it seemed like Chappelle's Show would die on the eve of its greatest success.
...But time heals wounds (as it is wont to do), and in more recent years, both Chappelle and Brennan have admitted to a slightly rekindled friendship - including performing stand-up in the same venues, hanging out personally, and even talking about possibly working together again. Of course, many thought that the "work" would be limited to appearing together on Brennan's podcast, The Champs - but apparently they've had something MUCH BIGGER in mind.
UPDATE: Comedy Central is getting ahead of the PR storm by releasing an official announcement trailer for Chappelle's Show season 4! Watch it below!
As indicated in the trailer, the ENTIRE original cast of the show will be returning - including comedic actors like Bill Burr, Donnell Rawlings (Ashy Larry), Paul Mooney (Negrodamus) and of course, Charlie Murphy. While the "teaser" is just words flashing across a black screen in type print, the fact that it comes straight from Comedy Central will be enough to set the Interwebs on fire.
In case you missed that explosion-laden finale to the trailer, Chappelle's Show will be back on the airwaves sometime in 2014.
Sources: TMZ, Comedy Central