By Ryan Velez
Many remember the time roughly a decade ago where Dave Chappelle was one of the world’s premier comedians. Chappelle’s Show had not only catapulted him into the limelight, but he was primed to make massive money with Comedy Central giving him a new $50 million contract to make more. He would baffle the world by walking away, but now Celebrity Net Worth reports that he is back on his terms, and is making good money doing it. This is highlighted by his recent Netflix specials.
Born in Silver Spring, Maryland, Chappelle slowly worked his way up the comedy ladder, inspired by names like Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor. Through the 90’s, he had a number of small roles and a culmination with co-writing Half-Baked in 1998. While he got a hour-long HBO special in 2000, it was the advent of Chappelle’s Show in 2003 that made him a star, but by 2004, he was already getting tired of the fame.
In a 2014 interview with David Letterman, Chappelle said:
"There's not too many people that don't think I'm crazy. So I look at it like this: I'm at a restaurant with my wife. It's a nice restaurant. We're eating dinner, I look across the room and I say, 'You see this guy over here across the room? He has $100 million. And we're eating the same entree. So, OK, fine, I don't have $50 million or whatever it was, but say I have $10 million in the bank. The difference in lifestyle is minuscule. The only difference between having $10 million and $50 million is an astounding $40 million. Of course I would like to have that money… There's nothing anyone can say. It's just you do what you feel like you need to do… I've felt a variety of ways in the last 10 years. You know, whenever there's something that I'd like to have that I could've afforded that I can't now afford, well then I'm upset about it."
"Money is the fuel for choices. Money gives me choices. That's not nothing, that's something. I can choose where my kids go to school, I can choose what I want to eat in a given day. But it's not the end all be all. There are other things in my life that I did not purchase with money that are very valuable."
After disappearing from the public eye for years, Chappelle slowly started to make appearances, quietly doing stand-up gigs, over 500 between 2013 and 2016, many of which sold out. It would be in 2016 when he truly nabbed the world’s attention, appearing on Saturday Night Live and delivering a monologue about the election that everyone was talking about. That episode of SNL delivered the highest overnight ratings and the best 18-to-49-ratings for the show since 2013, and won Chappelle an Emmy.
Then Netflix reached out to him, agreeing to pay $60 million for three specials in 2017. After leaving his Comedy Central deal behind, Chappelle looks to have the last laugh, with his net worth rebounding to $42 million, as well as being the 43rd-highest paid entertainer of the year.