In advance of a string of shows at Radio City Music Hall, Dave Chappelle has been hitting the late night talk show circuit – and it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
During a stop-over on The Tonight Show, Chappelle recounted that time he was mistaken for member of The Roots, the show’s house band and let Jimmy Fallon thank him for abruptly departing for South Africa and leaving a gaping hole in the comedy scene: “In the meantime I got famous. So thank you for that,” Fallon quipped. “That helped.”
But the best story to emerge from the appearance was the first time Chappelle met a then-unknown rapper named Kanye West. Chappelle gave West his first appearance on television as a musical guest on The Dave Chappelle Show back in 2003. “You could tell that he was going to be a star,” the comedian said on Fallon. “I didn’t know him until he did the show.”
While making the show, Chappelle, West, Jay Z, Common and Talib Kweli were listening to Jay Z’s just-released Black Album at Chappelle’s studio. On track 12 of the album (“Lucifer”), Jay says, “Kanyeezy, you’s a genius. You did it again!” Chappelle said that at that point, “Kanye stood up. First time he spoke all day, and he goes, ‘Stop the record! And rewind that.’ ”
Later, West took a phone call during which he announced, “‘Hello? No, I can’t. Because I’m at the edit for the Dave Chappelle Show, watching sketches that no one’s seen before.’ ” West paused for a moment before declaring, “‘Cause my life is dope and I do dope s–t,” before hanging up the phone.
Time may pass, but Kanye remains the same.