Wayward comedian Dave Chapelle — who cold bugged out to South Africa amid rumors of psychological breakdown, excessive partying, and plain old fear of success — has turned up back home in rural, artsy Yellow Springs, Ohio.
For a guy who put the third season of his hit Comedy Central show on indefinite hold and disappeared, jeopardizing a recent $50 million contract, Dave Chappelle is getting an awful lot of positive attention.
After selling over 2.8 million copies on DVD of the first season of Chappelle’s Show, the three-DVD set of his show’s second season was just released to high acclaim a few days ago, and is currently the #1-selling DVD at Amazon.
Chappelle’s Show: Season 2 Uncensored DVD is a three-disc boxed set featuring 13 episodes and bonus material totaling over two hours, including audio commentary on five episodes by Chappelle and series co-creator and executive producer Neal Brennan, more Chappelle stand-up material, The Rick James Extended Interview, Charlie Murphy’s Rick James memories, two unaired Charlie Murphy’s “True Hollywood Stories,” and a 71-minute deleted scenes/blooper reel featuring audio commentary by Chappelle and Brennan.
The second season features special guest appearances by Wayne Brady, Jim Breuer, Nick Cannon, Guillermo Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Griffin, Ron Jeremy, Lil’ Jon, John Mayer, Paul Mooney, Q-Tip, and Joe Rogan; and musical performances by Erykah Badu, Common, Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West and Wyclef.
More importantly on a personal level, Chappelle has been spotted back home in Yellow Springs where he grew up and has a farm outside of town, according to the Dayton Daily News. “He comes here because he’s from here and he feels comfortable, and nobody makes a big deal about it,” said Shelly Williams, an employee of Ye Old Trail Tavern. “You can see him if you stand outside.”
Cole Lindenmuth saw about a week ago. “He was just chilling and walking around with his friend.”
Cyndee Perkins, manager of the Import House, into the business on Wednesday and bought American Spirit cigarettes. Perkins said the community was concerned when Chappelle’s whereabouts weren’t widely known just as it would have been for any other member. She said Chappelle is always friendly to fans, signing autographs and talking to them.
After disappearing, Chappelle turned up for an interview with TIME Johannesburg bureau chief Simon Robinson on May 13 in an effort to put rumors to rest. Chappelle said he was in South Africa to find “a quiet place” for a while. “Let me tell you the things I can do here which I can’t at home: think, eat, sleep, laugh. I’m an introspective dude. I enjoy my own thoughts sometimes. And I’ve been doing a lot of thinking here.
“There were things that overwhelmed me. But not in the way that people are saying. I haven’t spent any of the money. All that stuff about partying and taking crack is not true. Why do I live on a farm in Ohio? To support my partying lifestyle?”
“If you don’t have the right people around you and you’re moving at a million miles an hour you can lose yourself. Everyone around me says, ‘You’re a genius!’ ‘You’re great!’ ‘That’s your voice!’ But I’m not sure that they’re right.”
“You got to be careful of the company you keep. It’s hard to know how much to say. One of the things that happens when people make the leap from a certain amount of money to tens of millions of dollars is that the people around you dramatically change.”
“During my ascent, I’ve seen other people go through that wall to become really big. They always said that fame didn’t change them but that it changes the people around them. You always hear that but you never really understand it. But now that I’m there that makes a lot of sense and I’m learning what that means. You have to have people around you that you can trust and aren’t just out for a meal ticket.”
“I want to make sure I’m dancing and not shuffling. What ever decisions I make right now I’m going to have live with. Your soul is priceless … I want to make sure whatever I do has spirit.”
Now he is back home with — his friends and fans hope — his spirit reinvigorated and ready to return to work soon.