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what The..Chappelle in mental Health facility?


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I hope he gets well soon.

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Didn't Mariah Carey go thru the same thing as well?

Yeah, Glitter and the soundtrack flopped. She waz with a new record label. She waz going thru' all kinds of changes she waz acting all crazy on TRL. Hardworking celebs do go thru' things...so i can see where they need 2 take a break and get away from the bizness. Usher said he waz going thru' a "Mariah" during the run of 8701.

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Fears of a Clown

Dave Chappelle got a colossal deal for the new season of his hit show. So where is it? The inside story of pressure, partying, power struggles—and a great comic's vanishing act.

By Devin Gordon


May 16 issue - "I'm so sorry," says Dave Chappelle, chuckling as he shakes hands with a visiting journalist. "This is a terrible way to meet a person." It is late afternoon and Chappelle has a long night of work ahead, so the introduction is a bit rushed. But more than likely, he's referring to the fact that he's covered in blackface, with white painted lips, white gloves, a red vest, a black cane and a Pullman Porter cap. Yes, that's definitely it. It is November 2004, just a few weeks into shooting on the third season of "Chappelle's Show"—a process that will soon become far more tortured than anyone ever expected. At the moment, though, all is tranquil. Today's scenes are part of a delicately titled sketch, "The N----r Pixie," in which Chappelle plays a cackling, devil-on-the-shoulder creation who serves as the self-hating conscience of famous black men, such as Tiger Woods and Chappelle himself. Hence the racially combustible costume. In Chappelle's universe, this is high comedy—the kind of brazen stunt that has become his show's calling card. As he heads back for another take, he flashes the journalist a giant grin: "Bet you never met a real live coon before!"

During NEWSWEEK's visit to the set, Chappelle, 31, appeared in complete control. As the minstrel-accented pixie, he kept busting up the crew with his profane ad-libs over footage of Woods attempting a putt. ("Show 'em how n----r you are! Stick your d--k in the hole!") Between takes, he would snap back into regular-guy mode, chatting quietly with his wife, Elaine, and horsing around with his two little boys, who were visiting from the family's home in rural Ohio. The show seemed on course for its Feb. 16 premiere.

Two weeks after our visit, however, Chappelle's publicist disclosed that the star was halting production on the series, canceling magazine commitments and indefinitely delaying the start of the third season. The stated cause: "intense personal issues." The season premiere was soon rescheduled for May 31. But just last Wednesday, Chappelle and Comedy Central jointly announced that production had been halted—and the season premiere indefinitely postponed—yet again. The need for this latest delay, which was announced less than 24 hours after a network presentation to advertisers, evidently took Comedy Central by surprise. The channel had aired promotional spots for the May 31 premiere the previous night.

What's going on with Dave? Published explanations for the ini-tial delay ranged from a nasty flu bug to "walking pneumonia" to writer's block. According to friends of Chappelle's interviewed by NEWSWEEK, however, the real cause of all the turmoil is more complicated. Since last summer, when Chappelle signed a staggering deal with Comedy Central worth up to $50 million to produce two more seasons of the show, friends say he's been worn down by a toxic combination of too much pressure, too much partying—and a creative rift with the network.

From its very first episode, "Chappelle's Show" has been an electrifying presence on TV. The centerpiece of the pilot, which aired on Jan. 22, 2003, was a gaspingly funny, nine-minute tale about a blind white supremacist named Clayton Bigsby who's actually black and doesn't realize it. With each new classic sketch ("the Racial Draft," in which various races gather, a la the NBA draft, to "claim" ethnically ambiguous celebrities; the now legendary "I'm Rick James, b---h!" episode), buzz spread like lit gasoline. But Chappelle, who writes the entire series with longtime pal Neal Brennan, had more on his mind than jokes. He brought a rare cultural consciousness to the show, offering platforms to unsung heroes of black comedy, including Paul Mooney, a top writer for Richard Pryor. For his musical guests, he bypassed the bling-and-booty set in favor of true hip-hop artists, such as rapper Mos Def and neo-soul virtuoso Anthony Hamilton.

By the end of its second season, "Chappelle's Show" was Comedy Central's highest-rated program, averaging 3.1 million viewers per week, and the DVD of the first season was swiftly becoming the top-selling TV title in the format's history. The success coincided neatly with the expiration of Chappelle's contract. He enjoyed a fierce bidding war for his services, which Comedy Central retained over NBC and the FX Network. The $50 million deal transformed Chappelle from a funny guy with a decade's worth of false starts to the hottest comedian in America. He wasn't prepared. "I saw him start trippin' when the buzz started to get real loud," says one celebrity friend. "I think he was in shock after the first season, and then [during] the second, it hit him that he was the man. That freaked him. And then came the pressure of living up to expectations for the third season. He's never been there—where something's so good and you got to come even stronger the next time. It was too much." The partying apparently made things worse. "Everyone knows Dave likes to have fun," says a music-industry pal. "I wouldn't say it's out of control ... but at some point that has to affect you if you've got a regular gig."

Neither Chappelle's publicist, Matt Labov, nor Comedy Central's spokespeople are offering any explanation for the latest delay. Labov denies that his client has a drug problem. And a source close to Chappelle believes this latest stoppage is more about the show itself than the health of its star. Eager to top his previous work, Chappelle wants to push the racial envelope even further in the third season—and network executives, according to this source, are afraid he's crossing the line. "Dave is not compromising what he wants to do," he says. "He's waited a long time for this chance, and he's not trying to do anything that isn't 100 percent his vision." Last week, though, Comedy Central flatly denied any conflict, as did an employee in Chappelle's camp, who insists the current delay "is not a network issue."

Despite his youth, Chappelle has been in the comedy game as long as people twice his age. After a childhood spent shuttling between Ohio, where his late father taught music at Antioch College, and his moth-er's home in Washington, D.C., Chappelle dropped out of high school to try stand-up in New York. He quickly befriended some of the older comics. "I remember working at the Comedy Cellar in the late 1980s when he came in," says Jon Stewart, a close friend and fellow Comedy Central employee. "I think he was, like, 9 at the time. And he was just effortless onstage. You knew he was gonna be huge."

First he had to survive a string of demoralizing roles in junk like the short-lived 1996 sitcom "Buddies" and the MTV movie "Joe's Apartment," in which he played a cockroach. "Dave always had to play second fiddle to the guys he thought were his peers, like Martin Lawrence and Jamie Foxx," says the music-industry pal. "He was never that kind of funny. He had this weird sense of humor that not everyone got." Network television executives, in particular. "No one would let Dave do what he wanted to do," says Lauren Corrao, Comedy Central's senior vice president of programming. "They wanted him to have friends he'd never have, just for the sake of a stereotypical sitcom. But Dave's an original."

Back on set in November, the pixie is tearing into footage of Rodney King as he pleads, "Can't we all get along?" "Wow, n----r, you are what they call are-tick-you-late!" Chappelle cries. "Now lemme answer your question: no. No, we can't." The director yells "Cut!" and Chappelle laughs as he watches playback of the take. "That's coldblooded, right? It's a dirty game. A dirty game." Right now, Dave Chappelle is on top of it—but it looks like he's losing his balance.

With Allison Samuels

© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.

© 2005 MSNBC.com

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7773670/site/newsweek/?GT1=6542

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Well, I expect jokes and jokes and jokes about this one.

Well remember when Martin Lawrence made a movie out of his experiences at rehab? That'd be dope if Dave Chapelle did something like that.

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