Dave Chappelle returning via the web?


The funnyman that hosted “Chappelle’s Show” for two seasons (2003-2004) on Comedy Central and abruptly quit in 2005 may be planning a new TV show with a paid subscription service like Netflix, Sony’s Crackle, or Hulu, according to The Daily: “Dave Chappelle’s going back to TV,” tattled our insider. “It’s not for a network. It’s for Netflix or Crackle or some other subscription service.”

However, now his reps are denying the comedian has any plans to do so. “Absolutely untrue,” Chappelle’s rep Carla Sims told Entertainment Weekly about the reports.

In a June 2004 stand-up performance in Sacramento, Chappelle walked off the stage after berating his audience for constantly shouting “I’m Rick James, bitch!,” which became a catchphrase from his popular “Rick James” sketch. After a few minutes, Chappelle returned and continued by saying, “The show is ruining my life.” He said he disliked working “20 hours a day” and that the popularity of the show was making it difficult for him to continue his stand-up career, which was “the most important thing” to him. Chappelle walked away from the $50 million Comedy Central would have paid him over the next two years.

Since 2005, he has performed new material at various comedy clubs and wrote and starred in the music documentary Block Party, directed by Michel Gondry.

RBR-TVBR observation: A move to Hulu, Netflix or Crackle might be the best bet for Chappelle. It would allow him much more creative control — which he claimed the lack of was one of the reasons he left Viacom’s Comedy Central. Hulu, Netflix and Crackle are all racing to offer up original programming and may all be courting him. As far as returning to network TV, it’s hard to say if he could land a gig. Pulling out like he did in 2005 tainted his reputation as a professional and the networks may not be interested in playing again.