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Why Dave Chappelle Said 'No' To Playing Bubba In Forrest Gump

It's always fascinating to learn about different roles that actors once decided to turn down earlier in their careers, especially when those decisions pulled them away from films that went on to win Oscars and widespread acclaim. Whether it's a main character or a smaller part, that one casting difference could've changed the entire tone and audience response to the movie. One of these eyebrow-raising declined gigs came from the hilarious Dave Chapelle, who back in the '90s was offered the role of Bubba Blue in the award-winning classic "Forrest Gump." Of course, it's known that Mykelti Williamson ended up getting the part, solidifying the shrimp-catching enthusiast's place in pop culture. Although it seems like a misstep for the comedian, Chapelle's reasoning for the turn-down went deeper than him simply not liking the script.

In an old comedy stand-up set that was posted by Comedy Hype, Chapelle explained that his agent wanted him to take the role of Bubba, thinking that this opportunity could end up landing him an Oscar. After reading the script, Chappell immediately wanted to turn down the role. In his act, he explained that the decision was racially motivated. "Who could be dumber than Forrest Gump? His Black friend, that's who," he said to the crowd. Not wanting to be cast in a role like that resulted in Chapelle moving on to the career direction we know today, but if he'd decided to wear Bubba's army boots, "Forrest Gump" may have felt much different.

For Chappelle, Bubba represented a Hollywood stereotype

There aren't many people out there who haven't at least heard of the movie "Forrest Gump," which became something of a pop-culture phenomenon upon its release in 1994. Most viewers are even able to remember his best friend, Bubba Blue. The special friendship even spawned a real-life restaurant chain, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. In the film, Forrest meets Bubba in the Army's basic training, and they eventually head to Vietnam. Despite the horrific battles nearby, the buddies concentrate on lighter subjects, such as going into the shrimping business together when they get back. However, this never happens, as Bubba is tragically killed in battle. The tear-jerking death scene that found Bubba dying in Forrest's arms was a cinematic moment Dave Chapelle wanted no part of.

Back in the '90s, Chapelle appeared in films such as "Robin Hood: Men in Tights," "The Nutty Professor," and "Con Air." But he turned down "Forrest Gump" because Bubba appeared to be a stereotypical role that he felt was common in Hollywood moviemaking. He felt that Bubba was there to make the main character look better. "No matter how dumb a white dude is, they always gonna find a n***** that's dumber," he said in his act. In addition to his opinion of Bubba being a degrading role, he also pointed out an obvious character observation. "You know he's going to get killed 'cause he's too cute," he exclaimed. Despite not being part of what would become an Oscar-winning film, Chapelle most likely has no regrets. Many now consider him one of the best stand-up comedians of all time.