Time tracks down missing Comedy Central bonus baby Dave Chappelle in Durban, South Africa, where he is apparently not wandering the streets hitting the pipe or trying to bite his way out of a straightjacket. In a nutshell: Getting $50 million makes your friends so crazy that disappearing for some chill-out time half the world away seems like a perfectly logical thing to do:
The picture he paints—and it seems a fairly honest and frank assessment— is of someone struggling to come to terms with a new position and power who's still figuring out how to come to grips with how people around him are reacting to the $50 million deal he signed last year with Comedy Central. Without naming specific characters, he seems to blame both some of his inner circle (not his family) and himself for the stresses created by last year's deal.
"There were things that overwhelmed me," he says. "But not in the way that people are saying. I haven't spent any of the money. All that stuff about partying and taking crack is not true. Why do I live on a farm in Ohio? To support my partying lifestyle?"
During most of the hour and a half that we talk, Chappelle is serious and introspective. But he still has his sense of humor, which comes out as we near the end of our conversation: "Is that enough to prove I'm not smoking crack or hanging out in a mental institution?"
This all seems way too darn reasonable for all of the media attention last week, doesn't it? Here's a better version: Two weeks ago, Chappelle got really, really baked to help deal with the stresses of his huge contract, checked his e-mail in this highly vulnerable state, and in a moment of empathy, sent his bank account number to a sincere-sounding South African aristocrat in need of some seed money to recover his family's lost fortune. Chappelle's now crisscrossing the country in search of the scammer, and will not rest until his Comedy Central cash is recovered and he strangles that little lying bitch to death with his own hands.