You may not immediately recognize his name, but as Dave Chappelle’s cowriter, Neal Brennan was responsible for one of the most celebrated cult comedies of our generation (“Half Baked”) and one of Comedy Central’s most successful shows (“Chappelle’s Show”). He also directed 2009’s “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard,” produced by Will Ferrell and starring Jeremy Piven and Ving Rhames. Since Chappelle’s epic falling out with both Comedy Central and his co-writer buddy, Brennan has reinvigorated his career. He began his career in stand-up and is now returning to an act that’s guaranteed to please. During those early days of standup, Brennan described himself as a “club rat”: “My brother [Kevin] was a comic, so I grew up in comedy clubs. I knew Dave Attell and Ray Romano in high school,” he said. He studied film at New York University before dropping out and working as a doorman at the Boston Comedy Club in New York. “Yet I never really tried standup,” he said. That club was where he brushed shoulders with comics like Jon Stewart and Chappelle. Brennan immediately knew Chappelle had talent: “He was really, really good,” he said. As the youngest guys in the club, Chappelle and Brennan became fast friends. Some years later Chappelle and Brennan wrote a little script called “Half Baked,” released in January of 1998 alongside powerhouse “Titanic.” In spite of the now-cult classic status of the movie, “Half Baked” was a commercial failure, and the two parted ways until 2003 when Comedy Central gave the green light to Chappelle and Brennan to write a sketch comedy show. Unlike “Half Baked,” “Chappelle’s Show” was a critical and commercial success. Its mixture of slapstick and no-holds-barred racial comedy attracted viewers from every demographic. Chappelle’s wacky portrayal of characters like Clayton Bigsby, the blind white supremacist and Rick James made him Comedy Central’s go-to man for funny. In 2004 it was Comedy Central’s second highest rated show, second only to “South Park.” But Chappelle left the show after only 28 episodes, amid rumors of friction with the network. Still, Brennan maintained that his experience working on “Chappelle’s Show” was a positive one. “Because of that experience, I now know when something is good, when it’s working. But now I’m writing jokes for myself, not other actors or characters. It gives you a jolt,” he said. “This is the first time I feel that I can now give a really good show and it’s because of everything I learned working on ‘Chappelle’s Show’.” Out of the job, Brennan needed an outlet for his creativity, and standup comedy would be that outlet. He had originally tried his hand at standup while “Chappelle’s Show” was in production, returning to it after the show ended. “It’s different than writing,” he said. “When writing you’re worried about all of these characters, but with stand-up the only person you have to think about is you.” Is it difficult, writing what’s essentially a one-man comedy show with no backup for failed lines? “Standup is like jumping out of a plane, and jokes are your little parachutes,” Brennan said. “Now that I’m performing, I’m writing more of these little parachutes for myself — but there’s always that fear that your ’chute isn’t going to open.” Years in comedy have imbued Brennan with a sense of wisdom and a stalwart defensiveness of free speech, exemplified in his response to “30 Rock” star Tracy Morgan’s recent homophobic rant. “We get paid because the distance from our brain to our mouth is much shorter than most people’s,” he wrote in a Tumblr post titled “The Tracy Defense.” “That’s what makes comedy, comedy.” Brennan described his current act as “a mixture of a little bit of everything: politics, Osama Bin Laden, race, gender, sex — it’s all there.” One of his latest jokes riffs on the last day of slavery, imagining how slave owners broke the news to the slaves. (“You know, we had a good run. You did a great job on your chores the last 250 years…”) Audiences can expect the same comedy aesthetic that made “Chappelle’s Show” so popular — comedy that comes within inches of crossing the line, but at the last moment turning around to flash a big, charismatic smile. Neal Brennan will be performing standup at the Water Street Tavern in Kent July 19.