Comic genius of America, comedian Dave Chappelle was assaulted onstage during his set at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday night as part of the Netflix Is a Joke Fest, an 11-day stand-up comedy festival backed by streaming giant Netflix. The festival features 130 comics with some of the biggest names in the industry in its inaugural lineup including Seth Rogen, Chelsea Handler, Aziz Ansari, Bill Burr and Conan O’Brien.
The attack took place as Chappelle was attempting to leave the Hollywood Bowl stage upon finishing his set, just after wrapping up a routine about comedians worrying about personal security following Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Academy Awards ceremony in march after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. As he was exiting the stage, someone from the audience, jumped onto the stage and tackled the comedian to the ground. Along with Chappelle, Hollywood Bowl uniformed security officers who witnessed the incident chased the assailant and took him into custody”. The assailant who was overpowered by the security guards appeared to break his arm in the melee and was taken away in an Ambulance.
Chappelle eventually returned to the stage and joked about the assault. He said it was fortunate his assailant was “clumsy,” adding, “I’ve been doing this 35 years. I just stomped a nigga backstage – always wanted to do that,” “I seen Busta Rhymes there, like, ‘That’s how you do it, dawg”, Chappelle said. On returning to the stage, Chappelle was joined by fellow comedian Chris Rock, who took the microphone said, “Was that Will Smith?” – a joke reference to his own experience of on-stage assault when he was slapped by Will Smith on live TV during the Oscars on the 27th of March.
Oscar-winning hollywood actor Jamie Foxx also ran up to stage from his seat to help Dave Chappelle fight off the assailant during the incident. “Whenever you’re in trouble, Jamie Foxx will show up in a sheriff’s hat,” Chappelle seems to be saying in a video from the event before he welcomes Foxx back to the stage to thank him for his assistance. “I thought that was part of the show,” Foxx said, before the pair also recalled seeing Busta Rhymes approach them to help with the situation while backstage. “I’ve had an incredible time. This man is an absolute genius. We’ve got to make sure we protect him at all times, man.”
Upon regaining his composure and returning to the stage, he further joked, “It was a trans man.” The joke was a reference to the ongoing controversy surrounding some of the Chappelle’s jokes in his Netflix specials that have been labeled as transphobic. Chappelle face criticism and protests last year for the material presented in his Netflix comedy special “The Closer” that most in the LGBTQ community construed as ridicule of transgender people. Fans of the comedian viewed the material in question as a cry against “cancel culture.” Protests over the material included an employee walkout at Netflix. Chappelle remained defiant amid the backlash, but said he planned to move on from the subject matter in his shows.
The man who tackled Chappelle, identified as Isaiah Lee, had a knife and is in custody and currently being held on $30,000 bail, Los Angeles police told CNN. He is described as weighing 140lbs and is 5ft 11. The LAPD also informed that the man was carrying a fake gun capable of ejecting a real knife blade from inside.
David Khari Webber Chappelle, well known by his stage name Dave Chappelle is an American stand-up comedian and actor. He is most popular for his satirical comedy series “Chappelle’s Show”. The series ran form 2003 – 2006 until Chappelle quit the show in the middle of production of the third season. Chappelle has appeared in several films and has received numerous accolades, including five Emmy Awards and three Grammy Awards as well as the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
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