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Dave Chappelle

Birth Date: August 24, 1973 / Age: 44
Birth Place: Washington, D.C.

Biography: David Chappelle (born August 24, 1973 in Washington, D.C.) is an American comedian, actor, and social commentator.

He attended elementary school in Silver Spring, Maryland and went to junior high school in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where his father taught voice and music at Antioch College. After his parents' divorce, Chappelle moved to Washington, D.C., with his mother (a Unitarian minister). He attended high school in Washington, but spent his summers with his father in Yellow Springs.

Chappelle began playing comedy clubs in Washington when he was 14 years old, while studying acting and literary media at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. Within a year, he had a chance to perform at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. He was promptly booed off stage. Undeterred, Chappelle became a hit at clubs along the East Coast, refining sets which were laid-back and socially conscious. By 1992, he had appeared on HBO's Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam. Catching the eye of Whoopi Goldberg, he became the youngest comic to have a featured spot on Comic Relief VI, at age 20.

His first major role was in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Chappelle turned down the role of Bubba in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump, thinking the movie would be a box office bust, and has since admitted to deeply regretting it. He later appeared as the abrasive comedian in the remake of The Nutty Professor, had a minor role in Con Air, had a supporting role in Martin Lawrence's Blue Streak, and then wrote and starred in Half Baked, a cult film about a group of pot-smoking best friends trying to get their friend out of jail. Chappelle appeared as himself in an episode of The Larry Sanders Show. In that performance, Chappelle and the executives of the show's nameless television network satirized the treatment that scriptwriters and show creators are subject to, as well as the executives' knee-jerk stereotyping when it comes to race.

In 2003, Chappelle debuted his own weekly television show on Comedy Central, Chappelle's Show. His sketch comedy heavily skewers racial stereotypes and slurs, including Chappelle's African American heritage. This with pointed social and poltical commentary quickly achieved great popularity. By the end of the second season, it was one of the highest-rated shows on basic cable, and second only to South Park on Comedy Central. Due to the popularity of his show, Comedy Central's parent company Viacom cut a $50 million deal with Dave Chappelle that will continue the production of "Chappelle's Show" for two more years and will allow Chappelle to do side projects.

His show has a large hip-hop following and has featured such political rappers such as Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, Mos Def and Kanye West. His show has also spotlighted Wu-Tang Clan, Outkast, Fat Joe and Erykah Badu.

One of his most well-known skits has him portraying the late Rick James during his drug years, and the phrase "I'm Rick James, bitch!" has now become a part of popular culture as have many of his other characters and skits. He also has done two music videos, "Piss On You" and its remix, which parody R. Kelly's "Ignition."

Chappelle lives with his wife and children on a farm just outside Yellow Springs, Ohio. When he is not touring or engaged in filming for television or the big screen, he can be seen in the shops and markets of the small college town. He converted to Islam around 1998. He told TIME Magazine in a May 2005 interview that he does not often discuss his religion publicly because he does not feel qualified to represent the Islamic faith before the public.

Chappelle's Show is on hiatus as of July 2005 while he sorts out unspecified personal issues. On May 11, news sources (most notably Entertainment Weekly) erroneously indicated that Chappelle had checked himself into a psychiatric facility in South Africa. On May 14, Time announced that one of their reporters, Christopher John Farley, had interviewed Chappelle in South Africa, and that no psychiatric treatments were occurring or necessary. Chappelle has said that he was on a "spiritual retreat". In an interview, Chapelle said, "I don't normally talk about my religion publicly because I don't want people to associate me and my flaws with this beautiful thing. And I believe it is a beautiful religion if you learn it the right way. It's a lifelong effort. Your religion is your standard. Coming here I don't have the distractions of fame. It quiets the ego down. I'm interested in the kind of person I've got to become. I want to be well rounded and the industry is a place of extremes. I want to be well balanced. I've got to check my intentions, man." Chappelle, who converted to Islam several years ago, reportedly went to South Africa to purify himself and to do some soul searching.

More recent news has located Chappelle back in the United States, at his house in Ohio [1], and performing impromptu shows in Los Angeles [2].

On August 3rd, co-star Charlie Murphy gave an interview to TV Guide stating that he believes that Dave Chappelle is through with his show, and that he did not believe Chappelle would ever return to the show.

Biography Credit: Wikipedia

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