Ahead of his anxiously-awaited new Netflix specials, Dave Chappelle has sat with the New York Times to discuss his return. The interview finds the comedian in candid form, praising the funny-men and women of his generation still lighting up stages (Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and the like,) especially as he’s only just readjusted to the limelight.
He reflects on his abandoned Comedy Central deal with surprising poise (easier to do now with a fresh Netflix deal in place, but still) and credits his time away from the stage as precisely what compelled him to come back to it. Elsewhere in the interview, he claims to have hundreds of hours of recorded audio from his years on the road, including the historic 11-night run at Radio City Music Hall in 2015. Chappelle’s at his most reverent recounting the respective impacts of Prince and Bill Cosby, both being personal heroes to the comedian, both causing him a great deal of pain for very different reasons.
Chappelle goes on to reveal crucial advice from a late-night with Louie C.K. ahead of his Saturday Night Live debut (which almost didn’t happen.)
Check out some notable excerpts from the NYT interview below.
Chappelle on his unreleased content:
I have hundreds of hours of high-quality audio recording of shows I did after I quit my television show. And then I [taped] three specials — one in Chicago, one in Austin, and one in L.A. Oh, and I also recorded the Radio City shows.
On the death of Prince:
I looked up to him like everybody did. I didn’t know him that well, but the times that we hung out were fun and very memorable and often funny. He was very generous with his advice, and he was very generous with his access. He let me see some of his process. He fostered a community among artists. He used to have these parties where we would go over to his house, and there would be all these musicians that I admired, and they’d just do these jam sessions in the basement. Everybody at the party was playing something. I think when he died there was the icon dying, but then there was this pillar in the community of people dying.
All of this is available for you to read as a primer for next week’s double-sided premiere.
Dave Chappelle’s two Netflix specials arrive this Tuesday, March 21st. Jump back to watch the trailer and hit the link below to read the new interview.