Dave Chappelle achieved superstardom in the early 2000s with his groundbreaking sketch comedy series, Chappelle’s Show and has since evolved to an iconic culture figure. The Washington, D.C. native turns 46 on Saturday.
Raised in the Washington Metropolitan Area, Chappelle split time between the Washington suburbs of Silver Spring, Md. with his mother, a professor at Howard University and the University of Maryland, and in Yellow Springs, Ohio with his father, a professor at Antioch College. As a boy, Chappelle had aspirations of being a comedian and was inspired by the likes of Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor.
In high school, Chappelle began his stand-up comedy career in clubs in and around the Washington area, with his mother sometimes going with him due to his age. In the early ‘90s, Chappelle relocated to New York to pursue his career and landed a short-lived television show, Buddies. After the show’s abrupt end, Chappelle managed to score a series of small movie roles, including the 1998 stoner comedy Half Baked.
In 2000, Chappelle started to gain more recognition via his successful stand-up special, Killin’ Them Softly ahead of starring in the film Undercover Brother in 2002. The following year, Chappelle’s Show was an immediate smash with its mix of comedy and biting social commentary, leading to a multi-million dollar deal with Comedy Central. However the show only lasted for two full seasons and a shortened third season after Chappelle left the show due to creative differences.
After a well-publicized hiatus and a trip to Africa to collect his thoughts, Chappelle returned to the stage. In 2017, Netflix aired two new Chappelle standup specials. Another, Sticks and Stones will debut on the network on August 26.
Chappelle currently resides in Yellow Springs with his wife and children.
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