Chappelle revealed that he pitched the concept for “Chappelle’s Show” to HBO before it landed at Comedy Central in the early 2000’s. The comedian claimed that the premium cabler’s execs “kicked me out of the office,” and asked him “what do we need you for?”
“These are executives, all they have to do is say, ‘Yeah we’ll take it,’ or, ‘No thank you we won’t.’ But they didn’t say either of those things, they went too far. They said literally what do we need you for,” Chappelle said. “And here they are all these years later and they’re streaming the very show that I was pitching them. So I’m asking them, what do you need me for?”
HBO Max is still yet to comment on the subject, despite multiple requests from Variety.
The other platforms which currently carry “Chappelle’s Show” are its original home Comedy Central and fellow ViacomCBS property CBS All Access.
While Chappelle didn’t directly demand the show be removed from either, he did paint a severely negative picture of Comedy Central, describing how he felt exploited when he signed the initial “Chappelle’s Show” contract as a “28-year-old expectant father that was broke.”
“I was desperate, I needed a way out,” Chappelle claimed was his reasoning at the time. “It wasn’t good money and it wasn’t good circumstances, but what else am I going to do I said? All these white people sitting at that table told me trust us Dave it’s a good contract, and I looked around the table and they all seemed to agree it was a good contract. But what if it was like that game of three-card monte? What if they were all friends and I didn’t know it?”
Part of Netflix’s decision to remove the show likely came down to its recent creative partnership with Chappelle, who has made multiple specials for the streamer over the last few years. It remains to be seen whether WarnerMedia or ViacomCBS, neither of which have as direct financial ties with Chappelle, do the same.