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Dave Chappelle fears the 'Reverse Kramer'

No, that’s not some sort of inappropriate innuendo. It’s what Dave Chappelle says he was hoping to avoid when he recently took the stage. During his first interview in five years with San Francisco’s WiLD 94.9, he explained what happened during his bizarre, nearly silent stand-up routine at a charity event at Florida’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino last month. “I came out on stage and the YouTube extravaganza began,” said Chappelle, who said members of the front row immediately began to heckle him, a move he thought was intended to provoke him to say something offensive à la Michael Richards during his infamous 2006 racist rant. “At a certain point,” he said, “you can’t possibly expect me [to continue].” Instead, he stayed on stage for the next 46 minutes, checking his text messages and occasionally muttering at the audience.

Chappelle has maintained a relatively low-profile since his overwhelming fame drove him to meltdown in 2005. In Friday’s interview, he admitted that it still gets to him when audience members boo and heckle. “You want to do well,” he said. “Comedy is a very approval-oriented field.” Check out the full clip – including more of Chappelle’s thoughts on the July 22 stand-up stand-off, his attitude toward the media these days, and his life in Ohio – after the jump.

So, PopWatchers, are you still disappointed by Chappelle’s retreat from the spotlight? Does it seem like he’ll ever be back to old form? As a comedian, do you think it was a cop-out for him to mentally check out of his act? Or, in light of Aziz Ansari’s recent verbal dust-up with an audience member, do you think he was right to play it safe and silent?

Read more:
Is Dave Chappelle returning to TV?
Et tu, Dave Chappelle and George Michael?: Why it hurts more when talented celebrities engage in bad behavior
Chappelle’s No-Show

Originally posted August 15 2011 — 2:46 PM EDT

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