Dave Chappelle‘s highly-anticipated Netflix specials hit the air this Tuesday.
Leading up to the release, Chappelle sat down with The New York Times to talk about how nervous he was before his Saturday Night Live hosting gig, fun times with Prince and how stand-up comedy feels like the 90s again.
But, one subject of one of his specials hit very close to home, the Bill Cosby rape allegations.
According to the NYT, Chappelle dedicated a good amount of time talking about the Cosby and the allegations. Something that comes as a surprise given that Chappelle has cited Cosby as an idol of his. But, he just can’t ignore the elephant in the comedy room.
As someone who idolized Bill Cosby as a child, it’s surprising you dedicate so much time in both specials to the rape allegations against him.
The Bill Cosby thing was tough for me. I’m not saying that to detract from his alleged victims at all. But he was a hero of mine.
Is there a mourning process involved?
So many bad things happened to our heroes: Muhammad Ali had Parkinson’s; Richard Pryor had M.S.; Prince died too young. And Bill just looked like one of the guys who was going to get to the finish line and just die of old age. And this happened. Jesus Christ. It’s awful.
Chappelle also spoke on what it’s like to be famous. Let him tell it, it sounds like he doesn’t mind when strangers come up to him and try to talk.
“Chappelle’s Show” brought you a level of ubiquity few comedians ever achieve.
A lot of times when you’re a famous dude, you don’t really feel like a person is actually looking at you. They’re looking at the phenomenon that you’ve become. Every once in a while, a person will engage with you, and you’ll be like, O.K., this person actually sees me. But I didn’t want the headache or the scrutiny. It was too much for me at that point. I felt like after I quit my show, the crowds could actually see me. The audience recalibrated with me. They listened to me again. And it was great. I started playing clubs again just because I enjoyed it. It was reaffirming a love for [stand-up]. It was important for me to do that. I needed that. I loved it. In the last few years, I’ve found an altitude I’m comfortable with.