Dave Chappelle in Psychiatric Facility

Comedian Dave Chappelle is in South Africa seeking psychiatric treatment, Entertainment Weekly reports.

Report: Chappelle in Psych Facility

He hasn’t been seen on set for weeks. His hit show has been shut down. And his friends are speculating on various reasons for his purported meltdown. Now comes word that Dave Chappelle is undergoing treatment in a psychiatric facility in South Africa. Quoting an unnamed source “close to the situation,” Entertainment Weekly said Wednesday that the comedian flew to South Africa late last month and voluntarily checked himself into the undisclosed facility. There is no word on the nature of his ailment or how long he will be hospitalized.

Sources confirmed to E! last week that Chappelle had been a no-show at work for several days. On May 4, Comedy Central abruptly announced Chappelle’s Show wouldn’t make its May 31 third-season launch and that production had been halted indefinitely. “All parties are optimistic that production will resume in the near future,” network spokesman Tony Fox said in a statement. Chappelle’s publicist, Matt Labov, has not publicly commented since Chappelle disappeared.

The entertainer reportedly flew from Newark, New Jersey, to Capetown, South Africa, on Apr. 28 to seek treatment. The EW report trumps earlier speculation in the latest edition of Newsweek. Several unnamed friends of the entertainer posited different theories explaining his absence to the newsmag. One said Chappelle “freaked” and didn’t know how to deal with the breakout success of Chappelle’s Show, which has become a full-blown pop-culture phenomenon and led to Chappelle signing an unprecedented $50 million contract last summer. The deal came in the wake of the sketch comedy’s record-setting first-season DVD sales.

Another acquaintance alluded to the Half-Baked star’s partying. “I wouldn’t say it’s out of control,” the purported pal dished to Newsweek, “but at some point that has to affect you if you’ve got a regular gig.” Chappelle’s camp has categorically denied he was abusing drugs.

A third suggested in Newsweek that Chappelle had creative differences with Comedy Central over the direction of the show. Chappelle reportedly wanted to push the boundaries of his comedy, with some racially provocative sketches, but the network had resisted.

A source close to the production tells E! that Chappelle had finished nearly five episodes for the new season before going AWOL. The season got off to a bumpy start late last year when Comedy Central announced it was moving back the debut from February to May, saying Chappelle had been unable to stockpile enough scripts due to an illness.

Bizarre. I hope all’s well. Chappelle’s comedy is uneven and occasionally more scatalogical than than I’d like, but he seems like a decent enough fellow. Never having been burdened with fame and immense wealth, I can’t quite comprehend the troubles they apparently bring.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. bryan says:

    Chappelle reportedly wanted to push the boundaries of his comedy, with some racially provocative sketches, but the network had resisted.

    Not like he’s ever done any racially provocative sketches on that show before.

    And why south africa? One would think there would be better places in the world to seek psychiatric treatment.

  2. Mark says:

    Maybe he is working on a sketch with Nelson Mandela? That would sure be puching the boundary 🙂

  3. carpeicthus says:

    Probably an AIDS sketch with Thabo Mbeki. That would be hilarious.

    Too bad — I’m just watching his show for the first time this week, thanks to Netflix. Uneven, maybe, but his highs are great.

  4. Jack Tanner says:

    Whoever approved of renewing Chappelle for $50M needs to go for psychiatric treatment.

  5. dottie says:

    Dave Chappelle is a naturally brilliant actor and comedian. The chemistry between him and his writers couldn’t be better. I am sadden to hear of his sudden illness, and I wish him a speedy recovery.

  6. Rick James says:

    Dem some big ass Tittays……….Beaaatch.
    Peace

  7. David Mazur says:

    This is a truly sad time, for not only Dave’s fans, but also for the comedy genre. In a time when most so-called comedic shows barely make you laugh, David proved that there are so many more things worth discussing, and if veiwed from an abstract point of veiw seem to me to be the funniest sh*t I’ve seen on TV since “In Living Color”. God Bless David, sort out your issues and get back on track. Don’t rob us of one the great comedic minds of this generation.