Chappelle Swaps Comedy Central for Clubs
09/13/2005 AT 09:00 AM EDT
The comedian, 33, who walked away from his Comedy Central TV series and, apparently, a lucrative multimillion-dollar contract, is now doing standup in comedy clubs, including one in Kentucky, where he sold out 10 shows.
It's "like I'm hanging out with a bunch of people, (and) I like that particular kind of attention," Chappelle tells the Cincinnati Enquirer about returning to standup. "People don't know what it's like standing up there on stage, when you have a wall of people smiling at you."
He adds: "Most people don't know what it's like to stand up there and speak their mind. I have a venue to do that. I get paid to do that. It's not like I'm doing heavy lifting up there. It's not like I'm solving the world's problems. It's like I'm hanging out with a bunch of people and it's cool."
Chappelle has said he was unhappy with the direction of his show. His decision triggered reports that he had mental or drug problems, which he denied.
"It was a little weird," he tells the paper. "It felt like some of the stuff was real tabloid, like raw speculation. It was like stuff I would normally buy and believe," he added, laughing.
Chappelle stunned fans and the entertainment industry when he abruptly left during production of the third season of his Chappelle's Show. He spent two weeks in South Africa before returning home to his 65-acre farm in Ohio, then returned to standup comedy.
"I just took it as a learning experience. It was like becoming a public person and learning all the responsibility that comes with that," he says.
As for what's ahead: "Wow. Damn, that's a good question. ... Is 'I don't know' an acceptable answer?"