Dave Chappelle Talks About The Show He Was Too High To Perform

By Kelly Burch 03/31/17

Chappelle recounted the incident in his new Netflix special, The Age of Spin

Dave Chappelle
Photo via YouTube

Dave Chappelle opened his first comedy special in a decade by poking fun at himself—specifically his disastrous 2015 Detroit comedy show that he now admits he was too stoned to deliver. 

“I don’t know if you ever saw on TMZ, the big headline: ‘Dave Chappelle, Drunk on Stage in Detroit. Well if you saw it…I wasn’t drunk,” Chappelle explains during his show The Age of Spin—the first of two Netflix specials the comedian has recently released. “I had smoked some reefer, with some rappers. Yeah. I don’t know if you know anything about hanging out with rappers, but their weed is very strong—stronger than what I was accustomed to.”

Back in 2015, TMZ reported that Chappelle was rambling, slurring his speech and telling few jokes. When someone from the crowd told Chappelle to actually share some of his act, he replied, “Well sir, it's a little late for that. Right now I've gotta get off the stage because it's two in the morning,” when it was in fact earlier. 

The poor performance left hundreds of fans angry and demanding a refund. TMZ speculated that Chappelle was drunk, and even his spokesperson admitted that it wasn’t Chappelle’s best performance. 

The comedian didn’t name the rappers who provided him the marijuana before the now-infamous 2015 show, but Detroit's Danny Brown seems to have claimed responsibility. Brown posted a screenshot of a tweet that speculated that he was the one who got Chappelle too high to perform. In the caption Brown wrote, “Haven’t seen Dave new special but heard he gotta bit about that night I got him stoned to the gills … momma I made it!!!”

When Chappelle abruptly quit The Chappelle Show on Comedy Central in 2005, walking away from a $50 million contract, there were rumors that he was dealing with addiction or mental illness. However, in a recent interview with CBS This Morning, Chappelle said it was much simpler than that. 

“I was in this very successful place but the emotional content didn’t feel anything like what I imagine success should feel like,” he said. “It just didn’t feel right.”

Now, Chappelle said, he has found a way of life that he is more comfortable with. “I have actual relationships with my kids,” he said. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.