Dave Chappelle says he was a victim of his own popularity. Though he rocketed to fame after taking his stand-up act to TV with 2003's massively successful Chappelle's Show, the reclusive comedian quickly grew to hate the gig. Before the show's third season began, Chappelle unexpectedly left not just the show's set, but the entire country. In a 2005 interview with TIME, Chappelle blamed his inner circle and the pressure of a new $50 million contract with Comedy Central for his decision to ditch the show. He returned to the U.S. soon after but hasn't sought out a return to TV, opting instead to perform only stand-up sets. He lives with his family on a farm in rural Ohio.
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