Dave Chappelle Recalls Buying Weed From Idris Elba Before He Got Famous
Dave Chappelle is gearing up to launch his new podcast, The Midnight Miracle, along with co-hosts Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli. While fans wait for the first episode to drop, the comedian’s been doing laidback interviews with celebrity friends Naomi Campbell and more recently, Joe Rogan.
Chappelle spent three hours on Rogan’s podcast chatting about everything from his career to entertainers he admires to COVID-19. At one point in the conversation, he mentioned that Idris Elba used to sell him marijuana.
Dave Chappelle remembers Idris Elba’s weed-selling days
When speaking about his climb in the comedy world, Dave Chappelle shared stories on the Joe Rogan Experience about working the club circuit.
He’s no stranger to Carolines on Broadway, the famous New York venue that’s hosted acts such as Jerry Seinfeld and Billy Crystal. It’s where Chappelle also first encountered Idris Elba who worked as a doorman at the club.
“Idris Elba — the famous actor — used to be a security guard at Carolines. I used to buy weed from him,” Chappelle said. Rogan appeared surprised and Chappelle encouraged him to ask him himself.
Rogan didn’t realize Elba used to work as a bouncer, but he complimented the actor on another talent: fighting. Rogan brought up his history in kickboxing and noted Elba is very skilled at Muy Thai.
Elba spoke about his past selling marijuana
Elba’s been candid about his life before finding fame with The Wire. During a 2013 interview with GQ, he shared that he lived between the U.S. and England in his twenties. He married his first wife at 26 and worked as a DJ and bouncer to make ends meet.
He auditioned, honed his American accent, and eventually landed the role of Stringer Bell. However, there was a time Elba didn’t have a steady home and sometimes slept in his car.
He recalled hustling weed at Carolines and seeing people like Chappelle pass through. “All those black comedians, they knew me as a doorman,” Elba told GQ. But he also spoke about that experience during his Saturday Night Live monologue in 2019.
“This is really amazing. I mean, you have no idea how honestly grateful I am to be here tonight. About 20 years ago, I was working down the street from this building on Broadway. Not as an actor. As a doorman,” said Elba. “I was the bouncer at Carolines comedy club on 49th and Broadway. Thank you.”
He kept it lighthearted as he recounted what those days were like for him. Elba joked about trying to break into acting and his side gig as a weed dealer.
“Now, this was my night job when I started in this country. This time of year, I would be standing outside freezing my bollocks off. I mean, it was a decent job, though. I made some great contacts. By which I mean, I sold weed. I’m not proud of it. It’s just a fact,” he said.
Those days are far behind him, and he’s since become a fan favorite in the acting world. Elba can be seen next in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.