Last Updated Mar 20, 2017 1:51 PM EDT
After walking away from a $50 million deal for “Chappelle’s Show” on Comedy Central in 2005, Dave Chappelle is making a comeback with a three-part Netflix special that premieres Tuesday.
In a rare interview with “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King, the comedian revealed why he decided to host “Saturday Night Live” for the first time in November 2016. It was also SNL’s first show afterwas elected president.
“It was a perfect storm of circumstances that made me do it. Lorne Michaels is a genius,” Chappelle said, referring to the show’s creator and executive producer. “So Lorne had decided that he wanted – he was adamant that I do the slot after the election. ‘I want you to do the first show after the election.’ But the decisive factor had a lot to do with A Tribe Called Quest.”
Chappelle recalled the day after he attended the funeral for Phife Dawg, a member of A Tribe Called Quest. An “eclectic” crowd of artists including Talib Kweli, Jack White, RZA, and D’Angelo had gathered at Q-Tip’s home to pay respects, he said. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg had been working on a new Tribe album, “We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service,” which released almost eight months after Phife Dawg’s death.
“Late in the night, Tip played some of the album. And it was real movin’. And hearing Phife’s voice. And it was a powerful night, you know? And then unbeknownst to us, the night we were all together, Prince was doing his last concert in Atlanta,” Chappelle said. “And … a lot of us had tickets to Prince’s show, but because of the Phife thing, it was like, ‘We’ll just go see him next time.’ And then there wasn’t next time.”
“So the album had this idea that we’re all gettin’ in the age where we lose one another sometimes, you know?” Chappelle added. “So when Q-Tip decided to do the show, he said he wanted me to host. We had talked about it before, but he was very emphatic. And he goes, ‘Dave, this is the last Tribe album ever.’ And that was the tipping point, you know? Like – well, if you really want to honor someone’s legacy, you know?”
He called Michaels after that, he said.
“I know Lorne thought that I was probably bullsh**tin’, but I was pretty resolute,” Chappelle said.
Reflecting on hosting “Saturday Night Live,” Chappelle said he was glad he did it.
“As things I’ve done, like that tour where I got booed in Hartford, you know? That was a tough tour, but I was glad that I did it, because it got me touring again. … As bad as that night was, I remember, it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s not a big deal. This is not what I’m running from,’” Chappelle said.
He didn’t take it personally.
“It happens. It’s just all part of it. And the key to getting over this is getting over yourself. You get over yourself, you can do so much stuff. I hope Donald Trump is watching this: If you can get over yourself, you can do so much,” Chappelle said.
“You’re saying don’t take yourself so seriously?” King asked him.
“Yeah, we get these narratives in our mind of how our lives should go and how things should play out. And there’s all this heroic music in it and all this stuff. But sometimes, ‘Keystone Kops.’ Sometimes I’m the idiot. Sometimes I’m the fool. Sometimes I’m the villain. So you get over yourself. And then you can actually get something done. And that’s what I learned from that. I learned that again on ‘Saturday Night Live.’”