David Chappelle, born on August 24, 1973 is an American stand-up comedian, screenwriter, producer, and actor. After beginning his film career in 1993 as Ahchoo in Mel Brooks' Robin Hood: Men in Tights, he landed supporting roles in box office hits including The Nutty Professor, Con Air, and Blue Streak. His first lead role was in the 1998 comedy film Half Baked, which he co-wrote with Neal Brennan.
In 2003, Chappelle became more widely known for his sketch comedy television series, Chappelle's Show, also co-written with Brennan, which ran until his retirement from the show two years later. By 2006, Chappelle was called the "comic genius of America" by Esquire and, in 2013, "the best" by a Billboard writer. The show continues to run in late-night syndication and on television networks around the world. In 2009 Comedy Central ranked him No. 43 in the "100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time."
Chappelle lives with his family in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and continues to perform stand-up comedy.
Chappelle was born in Washington, D.C., the youngest of three children. His father, William David Chappelle III, worked as a statistician before becoming a professor at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. His mother, Yvonne, is biracial,and was a professor at Howard University, Prince George's Community College, and the University of Maryland, and is also a Unitarian Universalist minister. Chappelle also has a stepmother and a stepbrother. He has stated his grandparents are multiracial from rape.
Chappelle moved to New York City to pursue a career as a comedian. He gathered the courage to perform at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater in front of the infamous "Amateur Night" audience, but he was booed off stage. Chappelle described the experience as the moment that gave him the courage to continue his show business aspirations. He quickly made a name for himself on the New York comedy circuit, even performing in the city's parks. Whoopi Goldberg nicknamed him "The Kid." At 19, he made his film debut as "Ahchoo" in Mel Brooks' Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
He also appeared on Star Search three times but lost over competing comedian Lester Barrie; Dave later joked about the irony of him subsequently becoming more successful than Barrie. The same year, Chappelle was offered the role of Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue in Forrest Gump. Concerned the character was demeaning and the movie would bomb, he turned down the part. He parodied the film in the 1997 short "Bowl of Pork," where a dim-witted black man is responsible for the Rodney King beating, the LA riots and OJ Simpson being accused of murder. Chappelle played another supporting role in an early Doug Liman film, Getting In in 1994. At age 19, he was the opening act for R&B soul singer Aretha Franklin.
Chappelle has been known to make impromptu and unannounced appearances at comedy venues, and continues to do so following his post-Chappelle's Show return to standup.