Dave Chappelle was born in 1973 in Washington, DC. His parents were both professors, and while Dave grew up in an academic household, his love of comedy was encouraged. Chappelle attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and, after graduation, moved to New York City to fulfill his dream of becoming a comedian. A difficult performance at the Apollo Theater, in which he as not well-received, had the opposite effect on Dave as it might have had on others; instead of being discouraged, Chappelle became even more determined to fulfill his dreams.
Chappelle began performing around the comedy circuit in town, and began to earn film roles, including roles in Robin Hood: Men in Tights and Getting In. In 1995, he accepted a guest role on the sitcom Home Improvement, and the success of the episode led to an offer for a spin-off show, called Buddies. The show premiered in 1996, but did not make it past four episodes due to low ratings. Another television pilot followed, but also failed to take off, and so Dave Chappelle continued with guest roles on television and in film, including The Nutty Professor (1996) and Con Air (1997), and a starring role in the film Half Baked (1998), which Dave co-wrote. Another film role in You’ve Got Mail (1998), was followed by a co-starring role alongside Martin Lawrence in Blue Streak (1999.)
In the new millennium, Dave Chappelle is known for his stand-up as much as for his television and film roles. His highly successful HBO special, Dave Chappelle: Killin’ Them Softly, aired in 2000, and his comedy show Chappelle’s Show debuted on Comedy Central in 2003. Dave earned two Emmy nods for the show, and the DVD version of the show sold more than three million copies. Dave Chappelle: For What It’s Worth launched on Showtime in 2004, and in 2005 he performed a series of shows in Los Angeles. A tour followed, and in 2006, Chappelle’s Show: The Lost Episodes, aired on Comedy Central, with the DVD release following.
Most notably, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (2006), has become a smash hit. In the last few years, Dave Chappelle has continued to perform stand-up regularly, and has plans for comedy projects in the future.