Chappelle Sightings

Seems like Dave Chappelle is really getting back to his roots. The much sought-after comedian popped up unannounced Thursday night at two comedy clubs in Los Angeles, saying he felt like performing, Daily Variety reported yesterday.

Chappelle, who has been AWOL from the third season of his hugely successful "Chappelle's Show" on Comedy Central, stunned audiences at the Hollywood Improv and the Comedy Store by doing an impromptu performance.

Chappelle left his show and the country last month amid rumors that he was doing everything from partying all the time to drugs. He says he headed to South Africa for a spiritual cleansing; Comedy Central postponed his show's third season.

But the cable channel can't be that mad at Dave: His new DVD box set, "Chappelle's Show: Season 2 Uncensored," racked up first-day sales of nearly 500,000 copies, setting a TV show DVD record, according to Paramount Home Entertainment.

An unnamed Comedy Central rep told Variety that network officials would be sitting down with Chappelle to talk business "really, really soon."

Cruise Controls

Looks like Tom Cruise's handlers want him to cut out all the Jerry Maguiresque proclamations of "I'm in love! I'm in love! I can't be cool!" (like those uttered on Oprah earlier this month, which were accompanied by much yelling and hopping around). Big Wigs at the talent agency that represents him watched that program and were "embarrassed for Tom," one agency insider told Radaronline.com. They "have been frantically pleading" with his sister, who has taken over as his rep, to "rein Tom in," according to Radar. Katie Holmes -- the object of Cruise's newfound zest -- recently joined the same agency as her significant other but she apparently didn't get the "stop gushing" order. While promoting "Batman Begins" overseas, the actress gushed: "I couldn't be happier! I'm so happy! He's the most amazing man in the world!"

We get it. Chill.

Diaz Is Not Amused

Cameron Diaz is piping hot over her treatment by the National Enquirer: She is suing the tattling tab for more than $10 million, claiming that it lied in a story that said she cheated on boyfriend Justin Timberlake by kissing another guy.

She filed the suit Wednesday in Superior Court in Santa Monica, Calif., after the May 23 issue of the gossip sheet printed a photo of Diaz and Shane Nickerson, an MTV producer who works on her reality show, "Trippin." According to her suit, Diaz, Nickerson and others walked out of the studio and stopped to exchange goodbye hugs, but "she and Nickerson did not engage in kissing or making out."

"We fully stand behind the reporting of the story and we will defend the lawsuit aggressively," said Stu Zakim, spokesman for American Media, which publishes the Enquirer.

Nickerson and his mother-in-law, Jeanne Martin, are also plaintiffs. Martin, a Connecticut schoolteacher, said she was "emotionally and physically distraught" after an Enquirer reporter pulled her out of a class to ask about the incident.

Noted . . .

First-time homeowner, L.A.-style: Actress Penelope Cruz, 31, just bought a one-story contemporary in the Hollywood Hills for $3.5 million. She gets: 3,300 square feet, four bedrooms, 31/2 bathrooms, bamboo floors, gourmet kitchen, a walk-in closet, city views, a pool, spa and gated courtyard entry.

. . . and Quoted

"I don't bash Hillary because I think she's weak. I don't bash her because I think she is strong. I bash her because I like to."

-- Syndicated columnist Robert Novak on CNN's "Crossfire," talking about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

-- Compiled by Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

from staff and wire reports

Dave Chappelle took a surprise turn behind the mike at two L.A. comedy clubs Thursday.