Following Netflix’s lead and at the request of comedian Dave Chappelle, HBO has agreed to remove ‘Chappelle’s Show’ from its streaming services.
The influential sketch comedy from the early 2000s will no longer be available after December 31, according to HBO and HBO Max’s chief content officer, Casey Bloys.
“We had a conversation with Dave. I won’t get into it, but it’s very clear that it’s a very unique and specific and emotional issue he’s got,” Bloys said during Variety’s virtual FYCFest. “So at the end of the year, at the end of this year, December 31, we’re going to honor his request and take the show down.”
Reps for HBO declined to comment further on the agreement and the nature of the conversation between Bloys and Chappelle.
In November, Chappelle called out the cable TV and streaming giants, “publicly flogging” them in a lengthy, expletive-laden video posted on Instagram. Netflix, which paid millions for Chappelle’s exclusive, critically acclaimed stand-up comedy specials, obliged and removed ‘Chappelle’s Show’.
He explained that because of a “raw deal” he signed when he made ‘Chappelle’s Show’ at Comedy Central in the aughts, he isn’t compensated when its parent company, ViacomCBS, licenses the sketch show to streamers such as Netflix and HBO Max.
“I’m not up here to tell you Comedy Central gave me a raw deal just because I’m Black,” Chappelle said in the video. “I believe that they gave me a raw deal because this ... industry is a monster.”
The comedian, 47, said he signed the contract granting Comedy Central the rights to ‘Chappelle’s Show’ in perpetuity.
“I signed the contract the way that a 28-year-old expectant father that was broke signs a contract. I was desperate. I needed a way out. And it wasn’t good money and it wasn’t good circumstances, but what else am I going to do, I said,” Chappelle added.
In 2005, Chappelle suddenly walked away from the wildly successful TV show — on which he was a creator, executive producer and star — after three seasons. After keeping a low profile for years, he later said that he was “definitely stressed out” by it.