The enduringly popular sketch comedy program Chappelle’s Show has been re-added to Netflix a little over two months after it was suddenly removed from the platform, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Superstar comedian Dave Chappelle (Half Baked, You’ve Got Mail), the show’s creator, publicly celebrated the Comedy Central show’s return to the site at the end of a short-form comedy special that goes by the title Redemption Song, which he posted in full on his Instagram.
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The initial deletion of Chappelle’s Show from Netflix in November 2020 was a personal request Chappelle made of his own accord. He discovered that ViacomCBS had gone behind his back to sell the series’ streaming rights to the internationally-known SVOD giant without guaranteeing him adequate financial compensation for his work on the show, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. Chappelle released a short-form comedy special called Unforgiven that same month that encouraged his fanbase to refuse to stream Chappelle’s Show to demonstrate that they stood behind him as he re-negotiated licensing rights to get the seminal show that bears his name back under his control.
Redemption Song announces the results of the boycott Chappelle organized against his series in Unforgiven. “I asked you to stop watching the show, and… you did. You made that show worthless, because without your eyes it’s nothing, and when you stopped watching it, they called me. And I got my name back. And I got my license back. And I got my show back, and they paid me millions of dollars,” he announced to the cheering crowd. Chappelle went on to thank Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos for taking the issue of ownership of Chappelle’s Show seriously, as well as ViacomCBS’s President of Entertainment & Youth Brands Chris McCarthy for reaching out to repair the company’s relationship with the D.C.-based standup comedian. “Like most people younger than me, [he] has an interest in making the past right, and did something that was very courageous,” Chappelle said of McCarthy in the closing moments of Redemption Song.
The new special ends with a montage of fan-favorite moments from Chappelle’s Show soundtracked by the pop standard “Happy Days Are Here Again” as covered by Barbra Streisand (Yentl, The Mirror Has Two Faces). Included in the sequence is a clip from a musical guest appearance by Kanye West (Runaway, We Were Once a Fairytale) in the show’s second season. West was one of many high-profile musical guests Chappelle had on the show, although footage from a vast majority of their sets is not included in the streaming and home video releases of Chappelle’s Show due to copyright issues. Additionally, the abbreviated third season of Chappelle’s Show, informally titled The Lost Episodes, is notably absent from Netflix’s re-release.
Seasons one and two of Chappelle’s Show are currently available to stream via Netflix.