Well, kinda. There was nothing at all funny about Dave Chappelle getting assaulted on stage at the Hollywood Bowl last night, even if there was something peculiarly familiar about it. As Chappelle invited some comedians and other friends to share the stage with him at the end of his act, a man who turned out to be armed with a knife rushed the stage and tackled Chappelle, which can be seen in this clip below.
It’s what happened afterward that proved a lot more entertaining, in a justice-served sort of way. And needless to say, you’re entering a NSFW language zone from here on out:
Dave Chappelle was attacked onstage on Tuesday night after a person ran up and tackled the stand-up comedian during a performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
In video posted to social media, someone in the crowd can be seen running onto the stage before leveling Chappelle as security officers race to intervene.
The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed the incident, telling NBC Los Angeles that the male suspect had been armed with a replica gun that could eject a knife blade when discharged correctly. It was unclear if the suspect made an attempt to use the weapon.
The LAPD said the suspect had been in the audience prior to the attack, then jumped on stage and attacked Chappelle just as he was about to leave the stage. The comedian was performing at the “Dave Chappelle and Friends” show, which was part of the Netflix Is A Joke Festival.
Security officers “intervened,” to be sure. In one widely shared image on social media, it appeared that they “intervened” with the direction of the assailant’s arm. You might just want to take my word for it if you’re apt to get queasy from graphic images:
Someone attacked Dave Chappelle at his show and his security team left that man looking like Mojo JoJo. pic.twitter.com/pna2642x7G
— NUFF (@nuffsaidny) May 4, 2022
Buzzfeed reporter Brianna Sacks attended the show and offered a string of reports on the incident. Chappelle had just mentioned the fact that he had more security than normal after the Will Smith-Chris Rock slap at the Oscars when someone apparently decided to test that theory. Bad idea (via Twitchy):
Security et al rushed and started punching and kicking the shit out of Chapelle’s attacker. He was just about to bring on Talib Kweli and Mos Def for the encode and we in the crowd were like what the fuck is going on. Chapelle kept on while the guy was getting beat in the back
— Brianna Sacks (@bri_sacks) May 4, 2022
What is really surreal about this is that Chapelle talked about Chris Rock and the slap/new reality facing comedians/having more security with him and his wife being worried about him now. He did a whole bit about a crazy man coming to his house and chasing him down in his car
— Brianna Sacks (@bri_sacks) May 4, 2022
Ah yes … Chris Rock was there too. He delivered the joke that we’ve all expected for the past month:
Chris rock after Dave Chappelle get attacked on stage “is that will smith “😂 pic.twitter.com/hw4PWZWC6y
— abdulaziz (@abdulaziz0m) May 4, 2022
Rock has refrained from making Will Smith part of his comic set since being assaulted by the Oscar winner a month ago. Rock said that he needed time to process the assault before turning it into commentary. Smith had better gird his loins for what will come, not just from Rock but from a lot of his friends in the comic community, especially after this assault on Chappelle.
Let’s not oversell this point, but we shouldn’t undersell it either. Performers have required security for a long time before Smith slapped Rock over his jokes about Jada Pinkett Smith. Assaults on performers are nothing new, unfortunately, both on stage and off. However, having one performer attack another like Smith did and then to have the hosting organization of performers and producers do nothing except treat Smith as the victim and the wronged party sends a strong message. The post-Oscars clean-up attempts by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences and by Smith did little to counter the clear-if-tacit endorsement of Smith’s attack in the moment.
Perhaps this incident and the outcome for the assailant will set the incentives back a bit toward the norm. Dare we hope that Netflix airs the whole beat-down and aftermath in its “Netflix Is A Joke” series, which this Chappelle concert promoted? I’d bet they’ll get a lot of their former subscribers back …