Monday, May 16, 2005

"I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell..."

Thankfully, Dave Chappelle is fine. It looks like, in the long run, he'll be totally ready to jump back into the fray, after recharging in the relative solitude of South Africa.

Yet, all the latest news stories regarding Chappelle have some sort of snarky headline, taking his quotes out of context to make him seem crazy. Like: "Dave's not crazy, but he's hearing 'voices'" or "Dave says: 'I'm not smoking crack!'"

Chappelle: I'm Not Crazy
5/16/05 - 1:52 PM ET
By Adam Gonshor
(andPOP) -

Dave Chappelle says he's not crazy, he's not in a mental institution, he's not addicted to drugs, and he doesn't have a problem with a partying lifestyle.

Chappelle spoke publicly this weekend for the first time since he "disappeared" last week and denied reports that he entered a mental health facility.

Speaking with Time Magazine, Chappelle says he went to South Africa on a "spiritual retreat" as his show, Chappelle's Show, was suspended indefinitely by Comedy Central.

"Let me tell you the things I can do here which I can't at home: think, eat, sleep, laugh," he told the magazine. "I'm an introspective dude. I enjoy my own thoughts sometimes. And I've been doing a lot of thinking here."

He says he visited a physiatrist for one 40-minute session, just to make sure he was sane.

"You hear so many voices jockeying for position in your mind that you want to make sure that you hear your own voice," Chappelle said. "So I figured, let me just cut myself off from everybody, take a minute and pull a Flintstone — stop a speeding car by using my bare feet as the brakes."

He says he hopes to return working on the show when he returns, but didn't say when he plans to leave South Africa.

Fleeing to South Africa to recharge was actually an inspired idea, in my humble opinion. Clearly, the super-stardom and the mega-money deal put pressure on him ... and where else can a celebrity go to clear his head, decompress, and actually think things over without a constant barrage of 'yes men' and executives pushing and pulling you around? Good for him for taking time out to refresh.

And if I were an executive at Comedy Central (and I'm NOT), I would be salivating at Chappelle's eventual return to the spotlight. I mean, this is exactly the kind of beautiful train wreck that the public loves to watch. Sure they had to postpone the third season of the show, but they get so much more in return. Melodrama, rumors, speculation - the deperate human drama that is unfolding before our very eyes. And when Dave finally makes his triumphant return to his show, we will be there to cheer him on ... while maintaining a healthy dose of morbid curiosity, of course. And, Comedy Central stands by their guy in his time of need, saying they'll be there for him when he returns.

You can't put a price on publicity like this. Well, actually, you can put a price on it. $50 million, to be precise.