August 03, 2005 09:00 AM

In the ongoing Dave Chappelle saga – which started in April when he walked off his Comedy Central show in order to rest up in South Africa – the latest word comes from the comedian’s collaborator, Charlie Murphy.

And that word is, Chappelle’s Show won’t go on.

Murphy, the brother of Eddie Murphy and a writer and costar on Chappelle’s Show, tells the New York Post: “I don’t think Dave is going to do any more.”

Not that Chappelle didn’t show up for work. “We shot about eight shows for the third season,” Murphy continues. “They’ll be released on DVD, I’m sure. But that’s it.”

Murphy describes the unseen episodes as “hilarious.”

Chappelle surfaced in May following a disappearance that even took his agent, publicist and network by surprise. The move led Comedy Central to suspend his show. But he told Time magazine: “I’m not crazy, I’m not smoking crack. …I’m definitely stressed out.”

Leaving behind a wife and two children in Ohio, the comedian, who turns 33 this month, said he escaped to Durbin, South Africa, for a “spiritual retreat,” as he called it.

His journey, he said, was because, despite its success, he wasn’t happy with the direction of his show – for which Comedy Central reportedly was paying him $50 million for two seasons. “There’s a lot of resistance to my opinions, so I decided, ‘Let me remove myself from this situation,'” said Chappelle.

Countering their star’s claim about the show, Comedy Central president Doug Herzog told Time that Chappelle had “complete creative freedom.” Herzog also said that he told his staff that he believed there wouldn’t be a Chappelle’s Show in 2005, but that he was leaving the option open for the comedian’s return.

Herzog recently repeated the latter claim, adding, “The ball’s in Dave’s court,” reports the Post. “If you see him, tell him to phone home.”

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