If Comedy Central goes through with plans to air material from the unfinished third season of Chappelle's Show, Dave Chappelle, for one, won't be laughing.
The network said in December that it would make room in its spring schedule for the approximately four episodes Chappelle completed before his impromptu "spiritual retreat" forced the show to shut down production.
However, if the cabler is still holding out hope for the homecoming of its biggest star, airing the material against his wishes might not be such a hot idea.
"I feel like it's kind of a bully move," Chappelle told the Dayton Daily News in a telephone interview. "That's just how I feel about it. I don't know if that's the case. But if people don't watch it, then I'd be more than happy."
Chappelle says he has not yet decided whether he will come back and fulfill the terms of the $50 million contract that was supposed to carry him through the third and fourth seasons of Chappelle's Show.
"But I think if they air that stuff, I can't see how I'm going to be able to," Chappelle said. "That will damage our relationship."
Last month, in his first televised interview since his hasty retreat to South Africa, Chappelle told Oprah Winfrey that he wanted to return to the show, "provided, one, I can make the proper work environment."
The comedian expressed his desire to show more social responsibility, in part by donating portions of the proceeds from his DVD sales to charity.
"I want to give," he told Winfrey. "I don't want the money. I don't want the drama. I just want to do my show. I want to have fun again."
After Chappelle's Oprah appearance aired, Comedy Central released a statement, indicating its eagerness to resume work with its wayward star.
"Dave is a comedic genius whose work we truly value, and the door is always open to him," the network stated.
But as time goes by with no decision from Chappelle, Comedy Central seems to be growing weary of the waiting game.
"We are still waiting patiently for Dave to return to work, but we know that our viewers are looking forward to seeing the material he produced for the third season," the network stated Wednesday.
When he's not holed up at his farm in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Chappelle has been keeping his sense of humor sharp by making occasional stand-up appearances.
On Wednesday, he attended the Dayton premiere of his new film, Block Party, a chronicle of the free, outdoor concert he staged in Brooklyn in 2004, with performances by the Fugees, Kanye West, Erykah Badu and Mos Def, among others.
The film opens in theaters Friday. Chappelle is also slated to present Block Party at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, which kicks off in Aspen next Wednesday.