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Dave Chappelle Happy to Be Working Clubs

Dave Chappelle (search), who walked away from his hit TV series earlier this year, said working in front of smaller audiences is more his speed.

Chappelle, who sold out 10 shows at a northern Kentucky club, said doing standup is "like I'm hanging out with a bunch of people."

He played the Funny Bone Comedy Club at Newport on the Levee last week, a 325-seat club.

"Most people don't know what it's like to stand up there and speak their mind. I have a venue to do that. I get paid to do that. It's not like I'm doing heavy lifting up there. It's not like I'm solving the world's problems," he told The Cincinnati Enquirer in Monday's editions.

The comedian stunned fans and the entertainment industry when he abruptly left during production of the third season of his Comedy Central (search) series, "Chappelle's Show" (search).

He spent two weeks in South Africa before returning home to his 65-acre farm near Yellow Springs, about 75 miles northeast of Cincinnati, and then returned to standup comedy.

"I like that particular kind of attention. People don't know what it's like standing up there onstage, when you have a wall of people smiling at you," Chappelle told the newspaper.

Chappelle has said he was unhappy with the direction of his show. His decision triggered reports that he had mental or drug problems, which he denied.

"It was a little weird," he said. "It felt like some of the stuff was real tabloid, like raw speculation."

"It was like stuff I would normally buy and believe," he said with a laugh. "I just took it as a learning experience. It was like becoming a public person and learning all the responsibility that comes with that."

Chappelle said he wasn't sure what's ahead for him: "Wow. ... That's a good question. ... Is 'I don't know' an acceptable answer?"