It's the $50 million question — what happened to Dave Chappelle?
The comedian disappeared a few weeks ago, eventually turning up in South Africa where he was rumored to have checked himself into a mental health facility.
Now, Dave's Hollywood friends are coming forward lending their support as Chappelle's future, as well as his show's, remains uncertain. "Fifty million will give you a lot of pressure," Shaun Wayans told Access.
"I think when you get popular like that and you start being one of the key focuses of pop culture, it's a lot of pressure," Cedric the Entertainer added.
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All of which is true, but the question still remains — why did Dave walk away from his edgy, in-your-face sketch comedy series two months ago after signing a two-year, $50 million deal with Comedy Central.
"He left so suddenly because he was stressed out. He said he was stressed out," Time writer Christopher John Farley told us. "He said he needed a break, he needed to recharge and he was concerned about the direction of the show and he felt like people weren't listening to his concerns."
Farley, a reporter for Time magazine, detailed his phone interview with the comic, who surfaced in Durban, South Africa. During the interview, Chappelle cleared up any speculation about drug abuse and reports he entered a mental facility.
"I did ask him about any kind of psychiatric problems and he said that he saw a psychiatrist for one 40-minute session , that was the extent of it and basically he went to South Africa for a spiritual retreat," Farley continued.
Production deadlines played a factor in Chappelle's reported meltdown, according to Farley — something which began to surface as far back as November of 2004.
"He was having problems throughout the writing," Farley added. "It dealt with some very difficult sexual and political and racial material ... He himself has sort of changed inside as he has become a practicing Muslim and so with all those issues and the fact that he wants to make sure the show projects him and his comedy in the right light."
Meanwhile, production of "Chappelle's Show" is still on hold, leaving the future of the series unclear.
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