From Oprah Winfrey to late disco icon Rick James, nothing has been too sacred for Dave Chappelle to mock.
The actor and comedian pushed the boundaries of comedy to a breaking point, winning critical acclaim with skits like the blind, white supremacist Clayton Bigsby who doesn't realize he is black.
Chappelle's DVDs became the best-selling in television history, and his Comedy Central show landed him a record-breaking paycheck of $50 million.
But one morning, he walked away from it all. He disappeared completely and surfaced in South Africa amid much speculation.
Chappelle lives with his wife and two children on a farm in his tiny hometown of Yellow Springs, Ohio. He said that he needed that time away from his life.
It was "very liberating," he said. "I was in a temporary apartment, and nothing was mine. … The healthiest thing for me to do was to remove myself from the situation, because staying in it, I wasn't crazy, but had I stayed in it longer, I would. I would probably be on this interview like … hel--hello?"
Rumors were rampant. There was speculation about a nervous breakdown or drug problems.
"One is you feel kind of like, 'Oh my God. Oh my God. They're saying what?'" he said. "And then the other reaction is like, 'They're saying what!' And it was kind of more on that side for me. And, in hindsight, maybe I wish I had stayed longer, but I came back. I came immediately to my farm in Ohio. When you're that guy that everyone's talking about, the funniest thing about it is nobody says anything to you."
Now he is making a comeback. He's released a hip-hop documentary called "Block Party" that stars Ohio residents. In Ohio, Chappelle said, he feels at home.
"You get this real distorted image of what's actually happening when you're a celebrity," he said. "It's like a fun house mirror. I don't really have a connection with that. Here, I'm walking down the street, I'm their neighbor. I'm Dave."
The movie, he said, is a way for him to reconcile his two personas.
"Well, another good thing about all this stuff is that it, it kind of brought both Daves together and that's why I feel like 'Block Party' is the perfect, it's the perfect time for, for me personally because it's a real personal movie. Me and friends of mine got together and, and we kind of just had like a celebration of, of our community."
For now, he has no plans to head back to Comedy Central, unless …
"Comedy Central is really going to have to love me and cuddle me," he said. "They're going to have to throw some candy in there. It's been awhile."