His decision to leave the Comedy Central series last May led fans and industry executives to question his motives, and his sanity.
But in a 10-page spread in the Esquire magazine arriving Saturday, he says he closed "Chappelle" for reasons cultural, professional and personal.
Culturally: "The bottom line was, white people own everything, and where can a black person go and be himself or say something that's familiar to him and not have to explain or apologize?"
Professionally: "I felt like I was really pressured to settle for something that I didn't necessarily feel like I wanted."
Personally: "The thing about show business is that, in a way, it forces dysfunctional relationships in people."
Chappelle tells the magazine that putting on "Chappelle's Show" was the best television experience he ever had. He plans to continue telling jokes and entertaining audiences, he says, so long as he can retain a degree of personal and creative freedom.