If you’re a fan of Chappelle’s Show, I have some bad news for you: the comedy series has been pulled off of Netflix.
The kicker here? Dave Chappelle himself asked the streaming giant to remove the old Comedy Central sketch show.
Chappelle’s Show originally aired on Comedy Central — owned by ViacomCBS — from 2003 to 2006. It has aired in the years since on other cable networks through syndication deals and has also been available through Comedy Central’s website and app.
Most recently, the show came up on streaming services including CBS All Access (also owned by ViacomCBS), HBO Max, and Netflix.
The sketch comedy show was first made available on Netflix on November 1. However, the show quietly disappeared and was no longer discoverable as of this week. Netflix has declined to comment.
As it turns out, it was Dave Chappelle that wanted the streaming giant to remove the show.
Despite the show carrying his name, Chappelle has a controversial relationship to the show. Anyone who watched the show on Comedy Central will likely remember that he quit it abruptly during the production of the third season. But what fans might not know is that Chappelle doesn’t own the rights to it.
The comedian initially talked about his frustration with recent Chappelle’s Show licensing deals in his Saturday Night Live monologue earlier this month.
He also hit up Instagram to post an 18-minute clip from an unreleased standup titled Unforgiven.
In the clip, Chappelle talked about how he doesn’t own the rights to Chappelle’s Show, and how he called up Netflix himself over the matter.
“People think I made a lot of money from Chappelle’s Show. When I left that show, I never got paid. They didn’t have to pay me because I signed the contract. But is that right?” Chappelle said in the clip. “I found out that these people were streaming my work and they never had to ask me or they never have to tell me. Perfectly legal because I signed the contract. But is that right? I didn’t think so either.”
In a bold move, Chappelle called up Netflix and asked them to remove the show.
Netflix has a lucrative contract for Chappelle that’s been going on since 2016 — and that ongoing relationship is why the streaming giant decided to honor his request.
“I called them and I told them that this makes me feel bad. And you want to know what they did? They agreed that they would take it off their platform just so I could feel better,” Chappelle said in the clip.
He goes on to say that streaming the show is “fencing stolen goods.”
As of now, HBO Max is still streaming the sketch comedy show. It’s unclear if they plan to follow suit, but based on Chappelle’s history with ViacomCBS, I won’t hold my breath.