Cable TV star Dave Chappelle is a comedian known for racially-charged and sometimes raunchy humor, earning him comparisons to the 1970s comedy superstar Richard Pryor. Chappelle started doing stand-up comedy in Washington, D.C. when he was a teenager. Just after high school he went to New York, where he quickly became a regular on the comedy club circuit. A year later he was in Hollywood, lured by development deals for TV shows and the chance to appear in movies. After years of false starts and small parts, Chappelle hit the big time in 2003 with Chappelle's Show, a cable TV comedy series made up of skits, short films and impressions of celebrities such as Samuel L. Jackson and Rick James. In 2004 Chappelle signed a deal for two more seasons and a guaranteed paycheck reported to be $50 million. In late 2004, however, he halted production on his show and postponed the new season "indefinitely." In May of 2005 he suddenly dropped out of sight, turning up two weeks later explaining that he had gone to a friend's in South Africa to relieve the stress of his success. His TV show over, Chappelle returned to doing stand-up comedy. His film credits include Half Baked (1998), You've Got Mail (1998, starring Tom Hanks) and Undercover Brother (2002, with Denise Richards).
In 2005 the the first season of Chappelle’s Show surpassed the first season of The Simpsons as the best-selling TV series on DVD.