Idris Elba Opens Up About Selling Pot To Dave Chappelle And Gigs He Worked Before Getting Famous


It’s no secret that the acting business is a hard one to break into. Hopeful performers take all kinds of odd jobs while going on auditions and trying to find their big break. When you look at someone as accomplished as Idris Elba, it’s hard to imagine the 2018 Sexiest Man Alive, who fans have clamored for years to see as James Bond, ever struggling for work. But sure enough, when the actor first came to the United States, he said he had all kinds of jobs to make ends meet — including selling pot to comedian Dave Chappelle. 

Idris Elba spoke to the Jess Cagle Podcast about his current projects — including Sonic the Hedgehog 2, in which he voices the (sexy?) animated character Knuckles — but when the conversation circled back to the start of Elba’s career, he spoke about how he had trouble finding acting work in the U.S. for about four years after leaving London, and he picked up any number of jobs, including, he said, some he wasn’t proud of. When asked to specify what those things might have included, the actor divulged the host:

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.

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