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What Is Dave Chappelle's Net Worth?

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS

Dave Chapelle has been a staple on the comedy scene for nearly 40 years. The comedian got his start in 1982. Since then he's played a huge part in nearly all of our lives. While his presence in the film and TV industry was always strong his "big break" for mainstream attention had to be his Comedy Central show Chapelle's Show. It's almost easy to forget that he took a long hiatus during the height of his popularity. He also walked away from a colossal $50 million. Poetically, the Washington, D.C. native now has an estimated net worth of $50 million.

 

Here’s how he did it.

Chappelle's Show put the comedian in high demand

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Chris Polk/FilmMagic

Chappelle’s Show debuted in 2003 on Comedy Central and rose to popularity immediately. At that point, Dave had already been known in the comedy world for a while, having appeared on Def Comedy Jam in a critically acclaimed role and subsequently, multiple late night shows. Chappelle’s Show grew insanely popular, which is one of the reasons why Dave ended up leaving, saying it was affecting his stand-up career. As mentioned before, Chappelle’s contract here ended up being a whopping $50 million for seasons three and four. Though he turned that down, it’s hard to imagine that the contract for the first two seasons wasn’t worth multiple millions too.

Dave's return to the limelight paid off

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Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix

Of course, the big bucks came back around for Dave when he returned to comedy full time. His star had not dwindled and he was just as in demand as when he left. In 2014 he performed ten nights at Radio City Music Hall and did some late-night shows to promote them. Though he likely got paid handsomely for those shows, certainly seven figures, in 2016 was when karma came back around in full effect. In November of that year, Netflix announced that they had inked a deal with Chappelle that would see him release three comedy specials exclusively on their platform. They would be his first in twelve years.

 

Sources confirmed that each one would see him bag $20 million, totaling to $60 million, equal to what Chris Rock had earned with Netflix previously. The service takes a hit on losing money with the specials for the trade of the press and new subscribers. The first two specials Deep In The Heart Of Texas and The Age Of Spin became the streaming service’s two most-watched specials ever. The success of them got Dave a fourth and fifth special, which it’s safe to assume he made at least another $40 million for.

 

In 2017, Forbes estimated Dave’s earnings for the year at $47 million and in 2018, at $35 million. Dave is on such good terms with Netflix that for his most recent special 8:46, dedicated to and about the murder of George Floyd, it was agreed that it appear on their YouTube channel for everyone’s viewing pleasure due to the nature of the content. At the time of writing, it has over 27 million views.

He does more than just stand-up

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Warner Bros.

Though stand-up comedy has by far been Chappelle’s most lucrative venture in his career, the legend has also appeared in his fair share of movies. In 1996, he played the hilarious role of Reggie Warrington in The Nutty Professor which did $274 million at the box office. In 1998’s You’ve Got Mail he played Kevin and that film did $250.8 million.

 

Most recently, in 2018 he starred in A Star Is Born as Noodles and that’s his biggest film to date, doing $436.2 at the box office. It’s unknown what his exact share of these kinds of ventures is but with films he’s in doing a combined $1 billion-plus at the box office, it’s safe to say they’ve contributed their fair share to his net worth. In terms of his own filmography, Dave’s 2005 documentary Block Party had a budget of $3 million and ended up grossing $11,718,595 in the U.S. and $333,329 overseas. The DVD has sold over 1.2 million copies to date, grossing a total of $18.7 million.

 

People looked at him crazy when he walked away from his $50 million contract in 2005 but sticking to his guns and upholding his integrity has paid off for Dave Chappelle not just spiritually, but literally too. From doing shows when he was just seventeen-years-old to now, Dave has become a giant in comedy, arguably the greatest of all time in the field, and he has the net worth to show for it too.

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