Known best for his legendary skits on the Chappelle show, and revered by famous comedian Katt Williams to be the best comic in the world, and by Kevin Hart to be the greatest of all time, Dave Chappelle is a living legend in the comedian world.
|Dave as Rick James in the Chappelle Show|
At the height of his fame though, back in 2005, Dave abruptly left the country during his show in the middle of production. Rumors of him being addicted to drugs or having a mental break down quickly circulated.
Turns out Dave was unhappy with the direction his show was being taken in and the promotion of stereotypes, which is prevalent in Hollywood and on television.
He explained how he “felt like some kind of prostitute or something” and that he was beginning to lose himself in the madness of all the fame and things taking place around him. In fact, one could argue that TV reinforces stereotypes to the point that it actually helps to promote racism by branding entire groups of people rather than realizing that people are individuals.
This inspired Dave to go to South Africa where he could be free from the pressure of fame and focus on self improvement and development as he explained in an interview with TIME magazine;
Coming here, I don’t have the distractions of fame. It quiets the ego down. I’m interested in the kind of person I’ve got to become. I want to be well-rounded and the industry is a place of extremes. I want to be well-balanced. I’ve got to check my intentions, man.
So what’s going on with Dave Chappelle then?
Dave’s recent transformation is obviously rooted in his clearly expressed desire for self improvement. From the role he had formerly found himself in, of being a skinny black comedian who’s job was to make everyone laugh, to now being someone who is improving himself physically and mentally. We all have certain things about ourselves we would like to improve, and in Dave’s case it is not a stretch to imagine he was uncomfortable with being so skinny so he decided to make exercise a priority and his hard work has since paid off.
More than simply being concerned with self improvement though, Dave has clearly expressed his discontent with the way the media manipulates the news and portrayal of world events, as well as the state of the world at large and has referred to himself as “a conspiracy theorist to a degree”, as you can watch in the video below;
Why does Dave’s story matter?
Dave’s story is important because he has woken up. He has realized that his job in life is not about making everyone else happy, but simply making himself happy. That money and fame is not the answer, but simply being happy is. And he has also discovered that media and television does not necessarily have our best interest in mind, so it’s best to be mindful of this and take our wellbeing into our own hands.