In 2005, Dave Chappelle shocked the industry when he abruptly walked away from his wildly popular comedy series Chappelle’s Show. The comedian later told CBS News’ Gayle King that he decided to leave because “it just didn’t feel right” and he was not emotionally content, despite all his success.
The move left many people scratching their heads, as Chappelle had reportedly rejected Comedy Central’s $50 million offer to complete a third and fourth season. However, there was one person who didn’t question Chappelle’s choice: Prince.
In the liner notes for Prince’s upcoming Sign O’ the Times super deluxe edition, Chappelle reflected on the late artist’s legacy and his reaction to Chappelle hiatus from Hollywood.
“When I left Chappelle’s Show, not only was Prince the only person I could relate to, he was one of the few people who truly cared about what was happening in my life,” Chappelle said, as reported by Vulture. “… He was the only one I knew who had already done it … The mere sight of Prince reminded me that I’m not the last sane man on earth, and I’m not crazy.”
Chappelle then alluded to Prince’s career-long battle with the music industry and his relentless efforts to protect his music. During his lawsuit against Warner Bros. in the 1990s, Prince created waves when he performed at Wembley Arena with the word “slave” written on his face.
“He was the first person I knew who didn’t question my choices,” Chappelle explained. “In fact, he didn’t even ask me about them. He just told me, ‘Whatever it is, you’re right.’ He helped me understand that it might not be over and that there might be another side to it … and whether or not there is or isn’t, at least you’re free. Or, as he would say, ‘U gotta B free.'”
The Sign O’ the Times super deluxe edition is set to arrive Sept. 25. The liner notes will also include interviews with Lenny Kravitz, author Duane Tudahl, and Prince’s engineer Susan Rogers.