Dave Chappelle Tackled During Comedy Show, Attacker Arrested

Dave Chappelle was performing at a comedy show at the Hollywood Bowl Tuesday when a man tackled Chappelle on stage. The man was carrying a replica handgun with a large blade that folded out of it, similar to a pocketknife, the Associated Press reported.

Isaiah Lee, 23, was chased and overpowered by security guards after the attack, before being taken away in an ambulance so Chappelle could continue his show.

Officer Alba Mendez, spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said that Lee was detained and arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. Lee was treated by medical staff before being booked into jail Wednesday morning and held in lieu of $30,000 bail, Mendez reported.

After the attack, Chappelle thanked fellow comedian Jamie Foxx who was in the wings of the stage for responding to the attack. Chris Rock was also there. After the attacker was being escorted away by security guards, Rock grabbed the mic and jokingly asked, “Was that Will Smith?”

Chappelle’s publicist, Carla Sims said this in a statement: “The performances by Chappelle at the Hollywood Bowl were epic and record-breaking and he refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment. As unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show. Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock helped calm the crowd with humor before Chappelle introduced the last and featured musical guests for the evening.”

Chappelle was performing his stand-up comedy routine at the Hollywood Bowl as a part of the “Netflix Is a Joke” festival. Netflix released a statement saying, “We care deeply about the safety of creators, and we strongly defend the right of stand-up comedians to perform on stage without fear of violence.”

Since the attack Tuesday night, some comedians have spoken out about their fear of being attacked on stage. Howie Mandel specifically addressed his concerns in an interview with Billy Bush, a reporter for Extra.

 “Watching what happened to Dave last night confirmed my fear,” Mandel said. “I was watching it kind of live on Twitter and I turned to my wife, and I said, ‘I don’t want to. I don’t want to go on stage. I’m just really afraid.'”

Another comedian, Tim Young, tweeted, “We can all thank Will Smith for setting the example that led to Dave Chappelle getting assaulted on stage last night.”

Comedian Jordan Garnett made a similar statement to WPTV saying, “Here we go again. As I mentioned before, Will Smith did it, so now people think that if a big celebrity did it, they can now do it.”

Howie Mandel seems to hold similar criticisms. “This is one step that kind of opens a door and triggers somebody if they don’t like what you’re saying or they’re offended by what you’re saying… It’s kind of okay because it’s been done, to be violent, and that’s what my fear was,” he said to Extra, referring to Smith hitting Rock.

Luckily, the attack didn’t cause Chappelle to stop the show, but many comedians are wondering about their future on stage after this incident. Mandel explained that he is touring less because of the violence and fear around comedy recently.

“My biggest fear 40 years ago was not getting a laugh, and then cancel culture came along, and then it was like, ‘Oh, my God if somebody doesn’t like your joke or you overstepped your line, you could lose your career,’ and then after the Academy Awards… I said… ‘Violence triggers violence.’”


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