During an in-depth interview aired on CBS This Morning on Monday, March 20, comedy king Dave Chappelle gave a heart-wrenching explanation as to what made him finally do Saturday Night Live, after receiving numerous invitations throughout his two and a half decade career. And although the actor/comedian acknowledges his appreciation for SNL producer Lorne Michaels, it had more to do with the guests slotted to perform on the post-election episode of the show, than the persuasion of its "genius" chief executive.
"Lorne had decided that he wanted – he was adamant that I do the slot after the election. ‘I want you to do the first show after the election.’ But the decisive factor had a lot to do with A Tribe Called Quest,” said Dave. After revealing the reason, Chappelle then went into great detail about what he described as a "perfect storm of circumstances" that actually entailed his feeling compelled to join his long time friends and hip hop legends. He shed light on the days that preceded and followed the passing of dear member, Phife Dawg which included news of another legend's passing that hit home.
“Late in the night, Tip played some of the album. And it was real movin’. And hearing Phife’s voice. And it was a powerful night, you know? And then unbeknownst to us, the night we were all together, Prince was doing his last concert in Atlanta,” Chappelle said. “And…a lot of us had tickets to Prince’s show, but because of the Phife thing, it was like, ‘We’ll just go see him next time.’ And then there wasn’t next time.”
Chappelle started off his recollection by giving a moving account of a phone call he had with Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli, also a long time friend of the comedian. Chappelle is known for rolling with a cadre of artists that were regulars on his Chappelle Show, with whom he continues to collaborate with and commence with in public today; The Roots, Common, Kweli and Mos Def, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, and Tribe among them.
“So the album had this idea that we’re all gettin’ in the age where we lose one another sometimes, you know?” Chappelle said. “So when Q-Tip decided to do the show, he said he wanted me to host. We had talked about it before, but he was very emphatic. And he goes, ‘Dave, this is the last Tribe album ever.’ And that was the tipping point, you know? Like – well, if you really want to honor someone’s legacy, you know?”