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Idris Elba Reflects on His Early Gigs and Selling Pot to Dave Chappelle Before Becoming Famous

By Therin Miller | April 25, 2022

The 2018's Sexiest Man Alive, Idris Elba first came to the United States, he had to take on a variety of odd jobs in order to make ends meet. This included selling pot to comedian Dave Chappelle. Elba has come a long way since then and is now considered one of the most accomplished actors in the business. He has starred in a number of hit films and television shows and is currently in the process of filming a new movie. Despite his success, Elba has said that he still feels like an outsider in Hollywood. He attributes this to the fact that he is one of the few black actors to achieve mainstream success.

Idris Elba spoke to the Jess Cagle Podcast about his current projects, including his work on Sonic the Hedgehog 2. He discussed how he had trouble finding acting work in the U.S. after leaving London, and picked up a number of jobs that he wasn't proud of. When asked to specify what those jobs might have included, the actor said:

"I used to sell weed… It wasn’t [legal] back then. I did that for a little to help pay the way. I DJ’d quite a bit. I was a doorman at Caroline’s Comedy Club, which is fascinating when I meet the comedians that you kind of remember the tall, English guy with the funny accent and the little hair. David Chappelle remembers me, because he used to buy weed from me. … But yeah, I did all kinds of things, to be honest."

Not everybody can claim to have sold pot to the Half-Baked star himself. Idris Elba has been nominated for four Golden Globes and five Primetime Emmys, and Dave Chappelle knows him as his weed guy. That's pretty special. It's like the old saying goes - always be nice to your doorman and your dealer, because they might turn out to be Idris Elba. If that's not an old saying, it should be.

We can't all be so lucky to have sold to Dave Chappelle or any other mainstream actor for that matter. Even though Idris Elba has achieved massive success Dave Chappelle knows him as his weed guy.

Things did turn around for Idris Elba although it wasn't easy at first he hasn't sold weed for money in quite some time. Idris Elba has been in more notable movie roles such as Beasts of No Nation, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, The Office, and more.

The actor has had a busy year with several projects in the works. He will star opposite Tilda Swinton in the fantasy drama Three Thousand Years of Longing, which is set to debut at Cannes in May. Additionally, he has recently wrapped filming for Luther, a feature film for Netflix that will continue the story of his iconic British crime series. With so much on his plate, it's no wonder Elba is in high demand.

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