Dave Chappelle interview in GQ: comedians talks about Kanye West, Idris Elba, Beyonce, and more.

Dave Chappelle Talks About Buying Weed From Idris Elba and Guest-Starring on Every TV Show

Dave Chappelle Talks About Buying Weed From Idris Elba and Guest-Starring on Every TV Show

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Nov. 18 2014 11:53 AM

Dave Chappelle Talks About Buying Weed From Idris Elba and Guest-Starring on Every TV Show

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Dave Chappelle at Radio City Music Hall in June.

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

As part of their “Men of the Year” issue, GQ sent Mark Anthony Green to interview Dave Chappelle. And while the “Dave Chappelle Is Back” headline is a little misleading—he’s been back in the public eye for a while now, and even before then he was performing fairly often—the interview does contain a number of good stories. A few highlights:

He Wants to Be a Guest Star on Every TV Show
“For one year,” Chappelle says, “I want to do this thing where I guest-star on as many television shows as I possibly can,” adding, “I love television,” and noting that, thanks to Chappelle’s Show, it is the medium he expects to be remembered for. As for what guest spots in particular he has in mind? “I’d be a zombie in The Walking Dead. A corpse on CSI. I'd be the first black guy to fuck Olivia Pope on Scandal.”

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He Probably Bought Weed From Idris Elba Before Elba Was Famous
Green notes that Elba “once said he used to sell weed at the New York comedy club Carolines.” Chappelle says he knows that Elba used to work as a doorman at Carolines, and acknowledges, “During that era of my life, there’s a high possibility that I bought reefer from Idris.”

He Talked With Rob Ford Before Most Americans Knew Who Ford Was
Chappelle wanted to smoke on stage, but Toronto law forbade it. So he took his case to the mayor, asking for a performance exemption. Ford said he wouldn’t change the law just for him. “He really gave me this whole speech,” Chappelle says. “I should have said, ‘You didn’t let me finish: smoke crack rocks onstage!’ Maybe a year after that was his first scandal.”

He Has Mixed Feelings About Beyoncé Singing a Lauryn Hill Song
Green asks Chappelle about other artists who have stepped away from the spotlight after massive success, including Lauryn Hill. Chappelle says he was just thinking about Hill recently, because he caught a few minutes of On the Run, during which Beyoncé sang the Lauryn Hill song “Ex-Factor.” “It was beautiful the way Beyoncé sang the song, but it made me wince a little bit. It’s like when I see someone steal a joke from me: I really would have liked to tell that one myself!”

He Is Scared of D’Angelo’s Answering Machine Message
Another out-of-the-spotlight artist Green asks about is D’Angelo. “I haven't talked to him personally in a while,” Chappelle says, “but the last time I called him, he had a long outgoing message on his machine. It was like a Malcolm X speech. And the last part was so intense. He was like, ‘The price of freedom is death!’ Beeeep! I didn't even leave that dude a message. I just hung up the phone. Like, just listening to D’Angelo’s answering machine puts you on the no-fly list, it’s so militant.”

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David Haglund is the literary editor of NewYorker.com.