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Inside The Actors Studio: Dave Chappelle

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For more than twelve years, James Lipton has sat down with over 200 of the world’s most accomplished artists for penetrating, fascinating interviews. Lipton’s studious research and enlightened curiosity has inspired his guests to open up and confess their deepest thoughts about their craft since the series premiere in 1994.

Dave Chappelle appeared as a guest on Inside The Actors Studio early this year – shortly after his dramatic exit from Chappelle’s Show and his pilgrimage to Africa. Upon his return to America, he chose the freedom of this show to reveal why he was able to walk away from TV riches – and what was revealed to him in Africa. The sometimes hilarious, often touching and always intriguing answers to these questions are waiting here in this Emmy®-nominated episode.

SPECIAL FEATURES: “James Lipton: Flashbacks” (new introduction with James Lipton) “Great Moments That Didn’t Make The Cut” (previously unseen portions of the original Chappelle interview)


Dave Chappelle’s outstanding appearance on Inside the Actor’s Studio is certainly one of the high points on that long-running interview series. Not long after his surprising exit from a hugely-successful show on Comedy Central, followed by a trip to Africa that became shrouded in media speculation about the comic’s sanity, Chappelle agreed to talk to host James Lipton. Appearing before one of Lipton’s typically educated crowds of acting students and others in the performing arts (a flight delay forced the guest to keep them all waiting four hours), Chappelle talks about his early life as a reluctant student yet inspired and daring son of progressive academics. His discovery at age 14 of his life’s mission—comedy—is actually thrilling to hear described, as are subsequent anecdotes about feeling the joy of an audience’s goodwill (and surviving their collective animosity at times). Chappelle talks about his early TV work and forays into film (he says cracking up Eddie Murphy on the set of The Nutty Professor meant more to him than awards ever could). He discusses his disappointment with the feature, Half-Baked, but how his partnership with co-writer Neal Brennan on that film eventually led to monster hit Chappelle’s Show. Most powerful is Chappelle’s serious cultural commentary about the extraordinary career and media pressures that can make even the strongest people in showbiz do the unexpected at times—and then be dismissed as crazy. And, yes, he does go into the poignant reasons that caused him to walk away from a $50 million third season on Chappelle’s Show. A very funny, smart, and satisfying session. –Tom Keogh

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