Books | Comedy

November 21, 2013

He Was Rick James, Bitch

Jason Zinoman investigates the art and life of Dave Chappelle—and why the comedian's blowup made perfect sense.

justin williams

Chappelle's Show debuted just over a decade ago, and the Comedy Central show quickly established Dave Chappelle as the funniest and most innovative comedian in the country. For two seasons, the sketch show barreled straight through the boundaries of racial comedy, translating into a long-awaited success for its star. Yet in 2005, the comedian mysteriously and inexplicably walked away from his hit and an alleged $50 million contract, eventually settling into the reclusion of family life in the small, progressive town of Yellow Springs, Ohio. Jason Zinoman wanted to figure out why.

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