Netflix Removes Chappelle's Show at Dave Chappelle's Request: 'I Was Furious'
Dave Chappelle is thanking Netflix for honoring his request to remove Chappelle's Show from its library of content
Dave Chappelle is thanking Netflix for honoring his request to remove Chappelle's Show from its library of content.
In an 18-minute-long stand-up segment posted to Instagram on Tuesday, Chappelle, 47, announced that he had reached out to the streaming giant about having his early aughts comedy series removed — and PEOPLE confirms that Netflix obliged.
On Nov. 1, Chappelle's Show, which is owned by ViacomCBS, began streaming on Netflix. Less than four weeks later, the show was removed overnight on Monday after Chappelle reached out to Netflix — his creative home for comedy and where he has done multiple stand-up specials.
Netflix had no comment.
The video, which he captioned "Unforgiven" and was presented in front of an audience, detailed a series of past events that led Chappelle to make the request from Netflix.
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In 2003, Chappelle's Show — which Chappelle created and starred and served as an executive producer on — premiered on Comedy Central, where it aired for three seasons.
Chappelle famously walked away from the series in 2005 due to stress and creative differences, leading Comedy Central to suspend production. Ultimately, three episodes were compiled for the show's final season in 2006.
Fourteen years later, it is still available on various ViacomCBS networks (Comedy Central, CBS All Access) and was also recently licensed by HBO Max.
"That's how I got with Comedy Central. I signed a contract, and I signed the contract the way a 28-year-old expecting father that was broke signs a contract. I was desperate, I needed a way out and it wasn't good money, it wasn't good circumstances. 'But what else am I gonna do?' I said. And 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," he said.
Chappelle went on to say that about two weeks ago, he called Saturday Night Live boss Lorne Michaels and told him that he agreed to appear on the sketch comedy series on election night. "The day I made that phone call, the day I committed to it, it gets announced that Netflix is streaming Chappelle's Show. Not just Netflix — HBO Max is streaming it too."
He then told the audience "another story about HBO" — specifically that he "before Chappelle's Show was at Comedy Central" he had "pitched that show to HBO."
"I told them what I wanted to do. Now, 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?' That's what they told me as they kicked me out of the office," he alleged.
"And here we are all these years later and they're streaming the very show that I was pitching to them. So I'm asking them: what do you need me for?" said Chappelle.
HBO Max did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
While Chappelle said that "people think I made a lot of money from Chappelle's Show," he alleged that it's the opposite. "When I left that show, I never got paid," he claimed. "They didn't have to pay me because I signed the contract."
He continued: "I found out that these people were streaming my work and they never had to ask me or they never had to tell me," he said. "Perfectly legal because I signed the contract. But is that right?" As the audience yelled out "no!" Chappelle agreed, saying, "I didn't think so either."
Chappelle then gave a shoutout to Netflix and detailed his recent request to have the company remove Chappelle's Show.
"That's why I like working for Netflix," he said. "I like working for Netflix because when all those bad things happened to me, that company didn't even exist. And when I found out they were streaming Chappelle's Show, I was furious. How could they not know?" he said.
He decided to take action: "I called them and I told them that this makes me feel bad. And do you want to know what they did? They agreed that they would take it off their platform just so I could feel better. That's why I f--- with Netflix. Because they paid me my money, they do what they say they're gonna do, and they went above and beyond what you could expect from a business man, they did something just because they thought that I might think that they were wrong. And I do — I think if you are f------- streaming that show, you're fencing stolen goods. They stole that from me. They just took it."
The comedian proceeded to call out Comedy Central and the "raw deal" he claims they gave him.
"And I'm not up here trying to tell you guys that I believe that Comedy Central gave me a raw deal just because I'm Black. I believe that they gave me a raw deal because this f------ industry is a monster! It's the same monster that these Me Too bitches was trying to tell you about. But they hate the monster for how it f----. And I hate that monster for how it eats. But my God, man, it's the same monster," he said.
Reps for Comedy Central and Viacom did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
courtesy comedy central/IMDB Chappelle's Show
"When I quit the show, all my friends would say, 'Well then f--- them, Dave, why don't you just do Chappelle's Show at another network?' Yeah, yeah, yeah. And why doesn't the slave run from one plantation to another plantation because the master over there might be nicer! My God, man, I was trapped."
Though Chappelle said that he has "thought about coming back and doing another Chappelle's Show," he said that he "can't call it Chappelle's Show because my name and likeness is being used by them in perpetuity throughout the universe. It's in the contract."
As to why Chappelle decided to speak out? "I'm telling you something that you need to know," he said. "I'm trying to explain to you what you're seeing. You don't understand what you're seeing."
"I am publicly flogging a network," he admitted. "And I know that this network ... they're watching me and they're saying, 'Why are you doing this so publicly? It doesn't feel good to be flogged publicly.' Oh, believe me, I know. I know exactly how that feels. When I quit my show they said I was crazy. What was crazy about it? I just didn't want to do it anymore. They said I smoked crack. That's impossible. I was a devout Muslim. I didn't smoke or drink. But I do now, bitch, because you ruined my f------ life. Now it's their turn. This is their first n----- lesson. And I'm honored to give it to them. They're going to pay me for this show."
Now, Chappelle said that he is "not going to the agents" to get "something done right." Instead, "I'm coming to my real boss — I'm coming to you."
"I'm begging you, if you ever liked me, if you ever think there was anything worthwhile about me, I'm begging you: please don't watch that show. I'm not asking to boycott any network. Boycott me, boycott Chappelle's Show, do not watch it unless they pay me."
He added: "Now there's probably a bunch of people at Comedy Central and Viacom and all these places that have no idea what I'm talking about. They've all either quit or been fired or got Me Too'd or something ... And there's a whole bunch of new, young people there and they're probably looking like, 'What is he talking about?' They may not actually know what the f--- happened to me," said Chappelle.
In conclusion, Chappelle said: "So I'll tell you what I'm talking about: go downstairs to your accounting department, open the books, see what that show made, and look at what you paid me. That's exactly what I'm talking about. You're going to pay me. I am inviting you to come with me and work with me and let's fight against that terrible, terrible feeling that you made me feel together. We can fight together and work this thing with Chappelle Show out. Or, or, I can just take it. Thank you," he said as he turned around and dropped the microphone out of his hand.