Death inspired Dave Chappelle’s stand-up career

"Life is real and reality is humbling," - Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle is celebrating thirty years of stand-up this summer and the forty-four year old comedian has a lot to celebrate…such as being alive.

Sitting down with The Breakfast Club radio show, Chappelle spoke on how the bleak environment he grew up in lead to his start in the comedy world at the tender age of fourteen.

Stating that “the fear of death” was what got him to pursue a career in comedy, Chappelle goes on to mention he felt if he didn’t take a chance in life, he wouldn’t live long enough to weigh his options.

“Yo, we’re black dudes in America so when I was in high school, my freshman year of high school – I talked about this on the actor’s studio – almost six hundred kids my age got murdered in Washington DC,” said Chappelle. “You can’t be in an environment like that and it not affect you. It made me want to just do whatever it was I wanted to do.”

Although forty-four isn’t truly old by human standards, the legendary comedian is grateful to have lived this long and appreciates what he’s been able to accomplish.

“I didn’t know I was gonna live this long you know; I think the fear of not doing what I wanna do in life made me do what I wanna do,” he said. “I feel very lucky to get to be forty-four. Now I’m more ambitious and looking forward to paying half price at the movies and shit.”

Host Charlamagne Tha God commented that even though he’s a successful black media personality himself, he still fears for his physical well being. In response, Dave dropped some precious wisdom and reinforced the notion that when reflecting on life we should take solace in the positives rather than the negative what ifs.

“Look, anything terrible can happen to anybody, but there’s some people that get shot and never get a platform,” said Chappelle. “They never get to write a book, I mean everybody knows your name, you meet famous people, they already know who you are – it’s amazing.”

Chappelle speaks on a bevy of topics including why white people seem to be attracted to his content, cultural appropriation, the death of Charlie Murphy, being in a club with Tupac and much more. The full interview can be viewed below.