Comedy Moment: When Dave Chappelle Explained To Maya Angelou Why He Left Chappelle Show

As news spreads on the passing of writer and poet Maya Angelou, we take time to highlight a moment in comedy which involved herself & Dave Chappelle. In 2006 the two traded stories on The Sundance Channel’s ‘Iconoclast’ in which Chappelle discussed his writing style and shared why he left his popular show on Comedy Central.

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Published in Culture, Interviews, Social Comedy, TV


  1. M@!

    One of the most beautiful conversations i’ve ever heard.

  2. Lou Anthony Courts

    Both voices resounding with truth.

  3. J Anthony Nino

    Thank you.
    And a thousand other things.
    But… thank you.

  4. CBoogieSings

    This is an awesome conversation. So insightful. When you’re independent of the good opinion of other people you are that much more enlightened. I’m inspired.

  5. EJ99

    What a schmuck he is. It’s all about DAVE. No appreciation for the superwoman he’s sitting next to.

  6. Dana

    Did she ask him why he left the show and he’s answering her? Then that’s exactly what he should have been doing. If I were a famous poet and author and was interviewing someone and they started fawning all over me I would freak out. That’s not “appreciation,” it’s nuts.

  7. nerdix

    Those of you criticizing him. This is only a part of a much larger interview. Watch it all. It is a wonderful sharing between the two. He does show respect and awe for Dr. Maya. She asked him about his life and he did the same with her.

  8. Guest Attorney

    Great discussion! Will have to catch the rest.

  9. Guest Attorney

    “When you’re independent of the good opinion of other people” Huh?

  10. Listener

    You obviously don’t follow along very well.

    Watch the video again, and use your listening ears, not your judgmental ones.

  11. Cee Bee

    oh give me a break. even if you paid no attention to his words, you can see his respect/reverence/appreciation for her in his eyes and body language. his interaction with her is quite honest.

  12. Kila

    Meaning: other people’s opinions of you dont affect your opinion on yourself. You follow your goals without worrying about what others will think about them.

  13. Duss

    She is not only a famous poet. She is a figurehead in the “black community” and when you grow up with a black mother from such understandings (such as myself and especially) you would be in awe of all sorts. It was the equivalent of sitting with Dr. King or Malcolm X outside of an entertainment aspect. Alice Walker is one of the last to have the same effect. You can’t simply capture or fathom the magnitude or importance of this meeting. She called him her grandson. That alone is far more deep than any genre of music, movie, or any form of art. It is a part of “black consciousness”, and I apologize it can’t be translated and that’s what you witnesses. Not just two “famous” people.


    But she herself says the problem is we put these iconclast on too high of a pedestal thus making what they do seem impossible instead of realizing that they were regular people who were in a moment and prepared and able to handle those moments. TI am not trying to bring their accomplishments down because there is really no reason for anyone to take anything negative out of the conversation. Sometimes the proper response is just appreciation without a need to build up or break down. Just appreciate the moment because it’s awesome and it will never happen again.

  15. Lorenacha K'uychiy

    yes…this is the part where she interviews him

  16. Lorenacha K'uychiy

    this is only one part of the talk. in this part she questions him.

  17. Lorenacha K'uychiy

    oh settle down. she was making a valid point. good god…im sure they both would giggle at your description.

  18. Regis Bethencourt

    Mannnnn, I was just saying that. I feel a certain way after seeing this…. It was just beautiful.

  19. Mags

    All I can say is WOW… I that discussion was amazing, candid, insightful and deep. I never knew why he left it all behind, but it makes sense. No matter what type of art you create, you must stay true to yourself!

  20. Meelah

    Her comments on the difference between bitter and angry were so deep but simple to take in.

  21. Guest Attorney

    She should have worded it better lol

  22. OrthoStice

    Patton Oswalt tells a frighetning story about playing a casino in Washington in which the entire audience yells his career at him for a half hour/ He never tells a joke and people are ecstatic.

  23. OrthoStice

    What a schmuck he is. It’s all about EJ99. He has no appreciation for the wisdom he is hearing.

  24. OrthoStice

    What a schmuck he is. It’s all about EJ99. He has no appreciation for the wisdom he is hearing.

  25. Dwayne Gresham

    “Not all whites are the devil” How about; Most whites aren’t the devil.

  26. averygreenleaf

    great conversation. Maya shines, as always, with dignity and wisdom.

  27. Cam TexasBoy Perry

    this whole thing is just so awesome and I don’t even know why I am just now seeing this.

  28. grgreene

    This is one of the best things I’ve ever seen on this channel.

  29. grgreene

    But what about Dwayne Gresham specifically? And excuse you for NOT living in Dixie, but if you notice that the American states with the blackest populations are the ones (except for Maryland) where Barack Obama did THE WORST, YOU WILL see that IN THOSE states, MOST white people STILL vote to keep black people inferior.
    So, I repeat, forget “all” — what about Dwayne Gresham, specifically??

  30. grgreene

    Because racism is real, that’s why. Because even here, we need to be reminded of that. As Dr.Angelou quoted Malcom X, “Not all whites are the devil” — and then there’s a coward hiding behind a mask and a pseudonym.

  31. samuelstorns

    Corporate America fucks with human beings like their products and investments…

    Believe that, (especially all you jerk off middle managers, you are getting screwed over like the rest of us).

  32. Doug

    How about these words are coming from a black women who married white men?

  33. Josh

    Very enlightening conversation between two very amazing people.

  34. norsequeen

    I have found that communication break downs happen from both sides. You believe if she’d worded it better, you’d have understood her intention better; but what about this?…Perhaps she worded it in a perfect way in her mind. Because written words can get confused in translation, it’s always better to speak in person so that you can say, “I didn’t understand what you meant there.” But life ain’t perfect & she had no idea that you’d misunderstand what was perfectly clear to her. I have Asperger’s, which means that lots of things I say don’t process in other’s brains the way they process in mine. I understood what she was trying to say & Kila’s explanation made it more clear. So when there’s a communication break down, whose fault is it really? Anybody’s?? Or nobody’s?? Keep an open mind & keep trying to communicate with others & I believe you’ll understand & be happier.

  35. norsequeen

    The words were quotes from Malcolm X, not Dr. Angelou’s words at all.

  36. wording

    I mean, she really was unclear. I have to agree with Guest Attorney.

  37. Robert

    grgreene you need to relax. Racism is strong in this one….

  38. tipla

    She was speaking of Malcolm X’s point of view at the time, which given what he was going through was big leap for him to say this.

  39. Grammar Police

    Considering the way in which you phrase your retort, it’s safe to say that you don’t get to judge anyone else’s grammatical abilities.

  40. Sylvias Baby

    I was captivated by her reaction when he asked if she knew Malcolm X (5:13). Her expression suggested that it broke her heart that he didn’t already know of her connection to Malcolm. Yet at the same time, there was love and compassion in her eyes for Dave, presumably at the opportunity to teach him a little bit of her history, which, of course is all of our history. Her eyes seemed to drop in reaction to the grief that she still felt at the mere mention of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King

  41. Jen L

    “Be independent of the good opinion of other people” is a quote by Abraham Maslow. So, she actually didn’t word anything poorly.

  42. sam tole

    The deepness…it’s too much! If there’s a longer version of this, I so need to see it. That last part about anger and bitterness…damn

  43. Yoleine Tamari

    “Bigger than Life, and yet Humble like a Dove” I’ll be missing you for ever Ms Angelou.

  44. Yoleine Tamari

    “WHat most People do best these days… Always Freaking Missing The Real Point”!!

  45. Supa Mo

    This was amazing. I have a friend who is always talking about Malcolm X but always says he hates white people. I’m def gonna share with him.

  46. artist_formally_known_as_cWj

    The statements of many people have been ruined by compartmentalization.

    Don’t consider a sentence, consider the entire arc of the point, and you will likely get it.

    Some things are of a certain legitimate depth, that it requires you to figure it out in order to understand – it can’t be told to you, it must be understood in you, That understanding is not necessarily immediate. It may take a significant part of one’s life before the requisite experience and perspective is available.

    At this point, she was around 80, so I’m venturing a guess that she had made the point before and did so as it occurred Mr. Chapelle needed to hear it.

    I personally take a similar point of view from the opposite perspective (“who am I to put my opinion of you on; it’s MY opinion”),

  47. Guest Attorney

    I wasnt talking of Maya Angelou’s comment I was referring to the lady who commented above. In anyway, I think it’s a case where she used a phrase that I was simply unfamiliar with and have never heard before.

  48. Guest Attorney

    No problem. I hadnt heard the phrase before.

  49. Guest Attorney

    Whats wrong with the way I phrased my retort? lol

  50. FauxRealFaux

    Ms. Maya worded it poetically and beautifully.

  51. truffle19

    That was dripping with wisdom from both sides. Amazing.

  52. Funkmaster5000

    I liked him better when he was funny.

  53. Guest Attorney

    How about we dont know most whites so we can’t speak on what most whites are or arent.

  54. Guest Attorney

    You are late in the conversation lol This is like a game of telephone. My comment was in response to another female on THIS thread. NOT Maya Angelou lol

  55. CR8VTOM

    I feel like I’ve been given new air, new vision…what an excellent conversation. Maya’s a Saint. Oh how we need more people like her in our world. And Dave Chappelle speaks the absolute truth about fame and the corporate machine. Being real is the answer. Being real will take you from where you are now to the grave. Money’s just a treat along the way to living a real life. Beautiful people! Thanks for sharing!

  56. m

    her mastery of language makes me feel small. made note of this, Courage is the most important virtue; without courage you cannot consistently practice the other

  57. norsequeen

    LOL thanks for replying to me, because I got to read the other comments which showed how far afield the conversation got. Humans!!! Such odd creatures. 😀

  58. Guest Attorney

    You are welcome. People somehow thought I was dissing the late great Maya Angelou lol

  59. Guest Attorney

    My mistake. I hadnt heard that phrasing before.

  60. Sun

    This is an amazing video! RIP Maya Angelou

  61. Sun

    This is an amazing video! RIP Maya Angelou

  62. Houston A. Yarbrough III

    The wisdom and truth that is shared is amazing. What also amazes me is simply “how” the conversation is had. I wish I was this good at simply talking to people… respectful, loving, without judgment, fully listening and fully engaged. If everyone communicated this way, we’d solve so many issues without anger and hate.

  63. Houston A. Yarbrough III

    Dave didn’t cut the footage. Editors put what they want in, keep what they want out. This piece seemed to be more about Dave.

    Think a little before you speak.

  64. ♪Ms_Izzy♪

    I’m so glad I took the time to listen to this….very deep inspiring.

  65. Danielle Langton Ellingston

    I guess lawyers don’t do poetry 🙂

  66. Guest Attorney

    What are you talking about?

  67. Gwen Myles

    This is an absolutely fascinating conversation. Who knew???? I have a whole new respect level for Dave Chappelle.

  68. Bluebatch

    One of the most amazing examples I have ever seen of two people really listening to each other. I am so inspired by them both. What real people can do.

  69. LadyLuck13

    … as well when the good opinion of other’s isn’t your goal, so it doesn’t affect the way you act either.

  70. putuporshutup

    Yeah, very Hitleresque…..

  71. putuporshutup

    personally I thought it was Shirley, from “What’s Happening”

  72. putuporshutup

    Did the crack issue come up? If not then it wasn’t a sincere interview… the OTHER sense of the word “sincere”….for those that didn’t get it

  73. putuporshutup

    I hope she forgave him for not centering all his knowledge on The subject of her!!!! The selfish bastard…..

  74. Armed in the Villa

    “Bitterness feeds on the host, it doesn’t do ANYTHING to the object of its displeasure” — whew Lawd that was a WORD, Mother Angelou!

  75. Jeremiah Jones

    Funny how time gives opportunity. You kind of sound like kanye west. Maya angelou should have worded it better? Some things are better left unsaid. Regardless this was an amazing video and Maybe you “heard” it wrong. Also Maybe your post was taken out of context because it is an empty comment left open to ones own persoanl interpretation? Aka it can be either a real simple question of you just asking for some help or clarification or you being a giant ignoramius. Such a wide scope of potential true meanings and outcomes. I meant no insult by the kanye comment just pointing the possibilities and why it is important to clarify what you mean via wrtiien words. How easily an uprising can happen via a simple misinterpreted text thread.

  76. Guest Attorney

    I addressed this 8 months ago and clarified everything and your judgmental ass comes along, 8 months late, placing judgment and getting it ALL wrong. I clearly stated that my comment was not in response to anything said by Maya Angelou or Dave Chappelle. It wasn’t a reply to anything said in the video. It was a reply to another commenter on this site. Have a nice day and remember to reread when in doubt.

  77. Guest Attorney

    Funny how you haven’t admitted you were wrong to come at me after I proved YOU wrong. I’m guessing you’re not going to comment back on how you jumped to conclusions huh? When it was time to criticize me you did, but now that you found out you were wrong I’m not hearing from you lol