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Dave Chappelle attacked on stage at Hollywood Bowl comedy show

LAPD were called to the Netflix Is A Joke festival when the comedian was tackled to the ground by an attacker wielding a fake gun with a concealed blade.

Intruder tackles Dave Chappelle on stage
Stefanie KeenanGetty

Comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked on stage during a performance at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl, raising concerns about the safety of performers after the Will Smith incident at the Oscars.

Footage shared online shows the intruder storming on stage and tackling the 48-year-old as he was closing his set. The show took place at the Netflix Is A Joke comedy festival on Tuesday night. Chappelle does not seem to have been harmed in the attack and returned to the stage to finish his set.

There were numerous other famous faces on the bill at the Hollywood Bowl, with actor and singer Jamie Foxx following Chappelle on stage. Rappers Mos Def and Talib Kweli were performing as responders from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) arrived backstage.

Who attacked Dave Chappelle?

The identity of the man who run on stage to wrestle Chappelle has not yet been released, and the reason for this intrusion remains a mystery. BuzzFeed News reporter Brianna Sacks, who was in attendance, tweeted in the immediate aftermath of the incident to say that the man had been badly beaten by security guards.

NBC News Los Angeles reports that the attacker carried with him a replica gun with a concealed blade when he stormed the stage. A statement from the LAPD in the early hours of Wednesday morning confirmed that the weapon could eject a knife blade “when you discharge it correctly.”

It is not known if the attacker actually attempted to use the weapon. Video shared on social media shows the comedian falling to the floor after the tackle, before several people rushed to Chappelle’s aid and apprehended the person.

Why was Dave Chappelle attacked on stage?

Chappelle has enjoyed a stellar career which has seen him become one of the highest-paid comedian in the world, although he has not been controversy-free in recent years. The hugely successful comedian has made enemies for some poorly-judged remarks.

In 2016 he signed a lucrative deal with streaming platform Netflix, bagging him around $20 million per comedy special he produced. However he soon received criticism for jokes related to the LGBT and trans communities. He has refused to apologise and has, at times, appeared to court the controversy.

After returning to the stage on Tuesday evening, he joked that the attacker “was a trans man” in reference to his earlier comments. The identity and intention of the assailant is still unknown, but Chappelle has no shortage of enemies.

What did Chris Rock say about the Dave Chappelle incident?

It was a pretty astonishing series of events, but one which is becoming strangely familiar to comedian Chris Rock, who was also in attendance. According to eyewitnesses, Rock joined Chappelle on stage after security had removed the intruder from the premises.

Author Julissa Arce wrote on Twitter. “Dave Chappelle got tackled to the ground on stage! Then Chris Rock came out and said, ‘was it Will Smith?!’ The wildest s***, I have ever seen!”

Many other Twitter users corroborated this account, although video footage is limited because phones were banned for the duration of the shows.


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