Is rushing comedians on stage going viral? Dave Chappelle was attacked last night during a May 3 performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles by a 23 year-old man named Isaiah Lee, who tackled Chappelle to the ground. Immediately afterwards, he was swarmed by security and friends of Chappelle including Busta Rhymes and Jamie Foxx. Lee reportedly “had a knife shaped like a gun,” and could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon while being held on $30,000 bail. After the show, he was seen on a stretcher with one arm visibly contorted. Immediately after the attacker was subdued, Chappelle joked that “It was a trans man,” in reference to his Netflix standup specials that have offended the transgender community.

On social media, the incident was immediately compared to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Academy Awards. Rock was in fact in attendance, and after getting up on stage with Chappelle, asked “Was that Will Smith?” to a loud cheer from the crowd. (Earlier in his set, Chappelle actually commented that he had beefed up his personal security following the Closer controversy.)

The Netflix comedy festival that Chappelle was performing at features Bill Burr, Kevin Hart, and Chelsea Handler, among many other A-list comedians. In February, it was announced that Chappelle would host and produce four more programs for the streaming service.

Netflix and Chappelle found themselves embroiled in controversy around the October 2021 release of his special The Closer. In that performance, Chappelle made comments that were widely derided as being transphobic, which led to significant strife within the company. Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos addressed the backlash both in an internal memo that leaked and in an interview with Variety where he said he does not believe The Closer “falls into hate speech.”

Chappelle has several high-profile tour dates lined up in May and June, as well as a recently announced run of shows with Busta Rhymes.





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