Dave Chappelle Isn’t Going Away

Dr. Munr Kazmir
6 min readJul 22, 2022

Ditto Joe Rogan and J.K. Rowling. Cancelation attempts are making them wealthier and more popular for one simple reason.

TIFF 2018 Dave Chappelle. (photo: John Bauld)

When comedian Dave Chappelle first shot to super-stardom with his hit comedy series, “Chappelle’s Show,” his rise to fame and fortune seemed meteoric, overnight.

Like most overnight success stories, Dave Chappelle had already been hard at work honing his craft for many years prior to his sudden success. Doing stand-up in smoke-filled clubs; appearing in comedy specials with other comedians for a pittance; taking small acting and writing parts in small-budget pictures: Dave Chappelle, highest-paid, most popular comedian in America got his start as Dave Chappelle, starving artist.

Actor Judge Reinhold once gave a theater full of aspiring young drama and music students the following advice about show business: “If you can do anything else, if there is ANY other thing you can do, do that thing instead.”

He wasn’t being mean; Reinhold was explaining a basic universal truth in the simplest way possible: Being an artist is brutally hard, it is perhaps the hardest job there is. There are no guarantees whatsoever, no certain successes and failure is the general default.

Those who do choose art must do so because there is absolutely nothing else they can, will, or want to do with their lives and never will be.

Our society doesn’t make it easy. All those positive reinforcements built into our culture, instilled in us over a lifetime, drummed into our dear little ears since childhood- gold stars, grades, GPAs, test scores, awards, raises, salaries, parent-teacher conferences, performance reviews- working artists can expect none of those.

No gold stars. No pats on the head in the form of paychecks, raises, bonuses; only toil, blindly going where no one has gone before, making it up as you go along. Whatever your training as an artist, however many others have come before you- however many books, songs, movies, plays there are- every artist’s journey and every new project is the equivalent of sailing right off the edge of the map.

Being an artist means creating something from nothing. Into a world with no Harry Potter, Harry Potter. Into a world that never heard of Dave Chappelle…