Not So Funny: 9 Comedians Who’ve Been Through Some Stuff

November 15, 2012  |  
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You know what they say about comedians, they have highs and lows. And just because they’re able to make us smile and laugh doesn’t mean they’re doing the same in their own personal lives. See which comedians have suffered their fair share of not so funny drama.

Dave Chappelle

Sometimes a person’s success can come too fast. I think this was the case with Dave Chappelle. After all, he went from starring in small, minor roles to having his own, insanely successful, sketch comedy show. At first everything was all fine and good until Chappelle started feeling like people were laughing at him as a fool instead of a comedian. It had gotten to the point where Chappelle had to walk off a stage during one of his standup performances because people wouldn’t stop screaming, “I’m Rick James Bish!” Chappelle went on to tell his audience that the show was taking him away from his standup career and thereby ruining his life. He finally drove the nail in the coffin with this nugget, reported by the Sacramento Bee:

“You know why my show is good? Because the network officials say you’re not smart enough to get what I’m doing, and every day I fight for you. I tell them how smart you are. Turns out, I was wrong. You people are stupid.”

Shortly after that Chappelle left the show, taking a vacation to South Africa. Time Magazine reported that he offered this as an explanation:

“Coming here I don’t have the distractions of fame. It quiets the ego down. I’m interested in the kind of person I’ve got to become. I want to be well rounded and the industry is a place of extremes. I want to be well balanced. I’ve got to check my intentions, man.”

Katt Williams

It would take forever for us to list Katt’s indiscretions since they’ve been quiet numerous. Everything seemed to be going well but first it started with checking hecklers in his audience, then it transitioned into guns found in his luggage at the airport, then there was the thievery. We wish we could say it stopped there; but unfortunately, it didn’t. There was the incident where Katt showed up in a hotel lobby in a bathrobe, talking crazy and then the assault against three women. While nothing has been confirmed, it ain’t hard to tell that Katt has been operating under the influence of some hardcore drugs. Most recently, we reported that Katt was sued for $5 million for slapping a female assistant. Poor thing  just needs help…a lot of help.

Chris Rock

It pains me to talk about Chris Rock, considering he’s one of my absolute favorites. But unfortunately Chris Rock hit a low point in the late ’90’s when he was having an affair with a woman he essentially described as “tacky.” Not only did Rock have the affair, the woman eventually ended up accusing him of rape. (That’s why you have to leave these scandalous women alone.) The affair was pretty well documented, considering there was a recorded phone conversation where Rock goes into graphic detail about their sexual relationship. He was so certain that the rape accusation was going to ruin his career, that during the conversation, he even talked about how he’d considered suicide. Poor Chris. Luckily, he and his wife, Malaak were able to work it out.

Richard Pryor

If there were an award for the most troubled comedian, Richard would probably take the award… easily. After skyrocketing to success in the late ’60’s, Richard Pryor became something of a go-to actor when it came to comedies, he was releasing comedy albums, writing for television shows– essentially doing the dang thang. He and Jim Brown even opened up a production company to help get black movies into theaters.  But drugs caused all of that to start to unravel. He fell out with Jim Brown, he had Pam Grier going to the doctor with cocaine in her vadge and then it all went to hell when Richard set himself on fire while free basing. He was literally running down the street on fire. Fortunately, that incident inspired him to get his life together.

Martin Lawrence

Oooh Martin! He really truly had a good thing going with his movies and his hilarious, hit tv show. Unfortunately, at the height of his success, Martin started acting out…literally, perhaps under the pressure that he was experiencing with his new fame. In 1995, he lashed out violently on the set of A Thin Line Between Love and Hate and was taken to the hospital. Then the next year he had a gun at the airport and was arrested. Then the whammy. In 1997, co-star Tisha Campbell filed a lawsuit against Lawrence for sexual harassment. By the end of “Martin,” it was clear that Lawrence had checked out. Luckily, Lawrence was able to rebound and has starred in several films since the end of his show.

Joan Rivers

Joan has not exactly had an easy life. We’ve known for a while that she has a bit of an issue accepting the looks she was born with. In addition to the plastic surgery, Joan Rivers also suffered from bulimia and contemplated suicide. Joan Rivers has always been known to skate around the edge; but as of late, it seems that Joan is taking things a little too far. There was the “Blackie O” comment she made about Michelle Obama, the comment she made about wanting to slap Rihanna after she admitted she still loved Chris Brown. Maybe senility is starting to set in. Time to cool it now, Joan.


Sandra Bernhard

Another comedian who always pushes the envelope, Sandra Bernhard caught some flack after she made some pretty offensive comments about Sarah Palin being gang-raped by a group of black men. Umm… Sandra, we know your political views, and we’re not fans of Palin’s either but that comment was offensive to all parties involved.

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby has pretty much had a squeaky, clean image since the start of his career. He solidified that good-guy image with the show the whole world loved. Unfortunately, it would eventually come out that Bill Cosby was making payments to keep an extramarital affair undercover. Then Cosby started hitting the media making some pretty disparaging comments about the black community’s work ethic, economic predicament and even the way black women name their children.

Tracy Morgan

Tracy’s life has been no crystal stair. There was a time when it was very clear Tracy was struggling with alcohol. There were quite of few interviews where homeboy was too gone. Then there was the family drama, where his sibling were asking him to donate money for their mother. Then, most recently, there were those completely inappropriate, homophobic comments he made that incited quite the backlash. Just like many of the other comedians on the list, Tracy apologized and was able to bounce back and is still very much respected in the entertainment industry.

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