Dave Chappelle told Oprah Winfrey he was stressed out and not crazy or on drugs when he abruptly left his hit Comedy Central show last spring during production.
In his first television interview since ditching "Chappelle's Show" in May, the comedian said that after he signed a $50-million deal for the third and fourth seasons in August 2004, too many people were trying to control him and his show.
"I wasn't crazy but it is incredibly stressful," Chappelle, 32, said during his appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that aired Friday.
"I felt in a lot of instances I was deliberately being put through stress because when you're a guy who generates money, people have a vested interest in controlling you," Chappelle said.
Last May, with the premiere date looming for the third season, Chappelle stunned his fans and the entertainment industry by leaving the show in midproduction. He spent two weeks in South Africa before returning home to his farm near Yellow Springs, Ohio, about 75 miles northeast of Cincinnati. Chappelle has since resumed performing live stand-up.
The comedian did not rule out returning to film the rest of the third and fourth seasons of "Chappelle's Show." The status of the show has hung in limbo since May. Comedy Central announced in December that four half-hour episodes -- based on what Chappelle taped before leaving the production -- will premiere in weekly airings this spring.