Standing behind him. After Dave Chappelle was attacked by an audience member while performing on stage at the Hollywood Bowl, many of his fellow comedians have shared their thoughts about what the incident means for performers moving forward.
“Watching what happened to Dave last night confirmed my fear [of being assaulted],” Howie Mandel said during an interview with Extra on Wednesday, May 4. “I was watching it kind of live on Twitter and I turned to my wife and I said, ‘I don’t want to [perform]. I don’t want to go on stage. I’m just really afraid.’”
The former America’s Got Talent judge also compared the attack to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards in March, explaining that he feels the lack of consequences “opens a door” for other audience members to storm stages in the future. “This is one step that kind of opens a door and [tells people that] if they don’t like what you’re saying or they’re offended by what you’re saying … It’s kind of OK because it’s been done, to be violent, and that’s what my fear was.”
Chappelle was in the midst of his set at the Netflix Is a Joke festival on Tuesday, May 3, when 23-year-old Isaiah Lee ran onto the stage from the crowd. According to video footage shared by attendees, the comedian was knocked to the ground while security members attempted to intervene. When Lee tried to flee moments later, he was detained by the Chappelle’s Show alum’s team and security guards.
According to NBC News Los Angeles, the LAPD confirmed that Lee was armed with a replica gun that had the ability to eject a knife blade when he stormed onstage. Neither Chappelle nor any responding officers were injured, but the attacker was later taken to a nearby hospital to treat “superficial injuries” that he incurred in the moment.
Lee was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and held off $30,000 bail. Though no official motive for the attack has been made public, Buzzfeed reporter Brianna Sacks, who attended the show, revealed that Chappelle “had literally just said he now has more security because of all the uproar from his jokes about the Trans community” moments before. Last year, the A Star is Born actor came under fire for making controversial jokes — some of which were transphobic — in his special The Closer.
According to multiple reports, Chappelle referred to Lee as a “trans man” as the culprit was removed from the venue during his Tuesday set.
“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,” a rep for the Half Baked star said in a statement to Us on Wednesday. “Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl. This run ties Chappelle with Monty Python for the most headlined shows by any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, reaching 70,000 fans of diverse backgrounds during the first Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival.”
Keep scrolling to see how celebrities have reacted to Chappelle’s attack: