Comedian Dave Chappelle was performing at the Netflix is a Joke Festival Tuesday night when a man assaulted him mid-set. Footage of the attack began circulating on social media, with attendees at the event confirming the assault.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the footage shows a man rushing the stage and attacking the comedian from his right, tackling him to the floor. The Guardian reports Dave Chappelle had been closing out the Tuesday night show and thanking earlier performers. Several included Chris Rock, Leslie Jones, and Jon Stewart when the attack occurred.
The Guardian further reports the attacker had been armed with a replica gun that could “eject a knife blade” when discharged correctly. The outlet could not confirm whether Chappelle’s attacker attempted to use the weapon.
While the individual tackled Dave Chappelle to the floor, he made a quick recovery, with security rushing to subdue the man who was later seen taken away in an ambulance. Buzzfeed News journalist Brianna Sacks stated several security guards punched and kicked Chappelle’s attacker; accounts of the incident state the perpetrator sustained a serious arm injury. As to Dave Chappelle, the comedian managed to avoid sustaining any injuries.
An LA-based reporter attending the event, Sharon Carpenter shared her own account of the attack on Dave Chappelle.
“He fell backwards onto his back, with his arms and legs up in the air. He was obviously in shock. We were all in shock. And I thought for a moment: ‘OK, is this a prank?’ because they had made some Will Smith jokes,” earlier in the night.
Comedy Community Concerned About Future Attacks Following Dave Chappelle Incident
The attack on Dave Chappelle came weeks after actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on international broadcast television at the 2022 Oscars. Combined, the two attacks have ignited concerns within the comedy community about performers’ safety.
Some individuals within the comedy community have written about poor audience behavior since lockdown following the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic. Others have begun to question whether it’s safe to perform publicly, given the latest attacks.
Chappelle recovered rather quickly following the attack, attempting to move forward with his set, though some attendees claimed he was rather pissed. Chris Rock, also in attendance at the Hollywood Bowl, joked afterward, “Was that Will Smith?”
Several popular comedians have faced major controversy recently following comments made about certain minority groups and individuals. Chappelle, for example, has faced criticism in the past for comments made about the LGBTQ+ community.
The Hollywood Reporter states a THR report following Tuesday night’s incident has some comedy clubs considering adding multiple safety precautions. These include security guards, preshow warnings, and, potentially, even metal detectors.
At the moment, an investigation into the Dave Chappelle assault is ongoing.