Comedy Central to air unseen ‘Chappelle’

Segs to be shown online first, b'cast on cabler in 2006

Dave Chappelle is coming back to Comedy Central — sort of.

Network revealed Sunday that it will air previously-recorded sketches from the funnyman as part of what is being billed as season three.

The sketches will be teased next week on Comedy Central’s online broadband network, Motherload, and later broadcast on the cable network, a spokesperson said. The broadcast will take place in the first half of 2006.

Chappelle has been on an open-ended hiatus for about ten months, with taping of the third season of his “Chappelle’s Show” suspended indefinitely. Sources close to the skein were recently quoted that they did not believe the funnyman would ever return to the program.

Chappelle signed a two-year deal with Comedy Central shortly before he decided to suspend taping. No reason for the hiatus has ever been given by the comedian, though some have speculated that exhaustion played a part.

At a Los Angeles taping of its year-end special “Last Laugh ’05,” Comedy Central showed a preview of what it will air as part of season three, which included send-ups of MTV skein “Cribs” and the Morgan Spurlock docu “Super Size Me.”

While a spokesperson confirmed that all the bits were taped before Chappelle went on hiatus, they declined to say whether the decision to air them meant the network was acknowledging that Chappelle would not return.