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Dave Chappelle tackled onstage during Hollywood Bowl performance

An armed suspect leapt onstage during the controversial comedian’s set at Netflix Is A Joke Fest

By Kat Bouza

Dave Chappelle performs for Netflix
Dave Chappelle performs for Netflix (Picture: Mathieu Biton)

Dave Chappelle was attacked Tuesday night in Los Angeles by a man who rushed the stage and tackled the comedian during an event at the Hollywood Bowl. According to Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC, the suspect, who was apprehended by law enforcement officials at the scene, was armed with both a gun and a knife.

The contentious comedian was performing at the historic Los Angeles venue as a part of Netflix Is A Joke Fest, a city-wide comedy festival sponsored by the streaming giant. In addition to Chappelle, the evening’s lineup boasted an all-star roster of musicians and comedians — including Black Star, Chris Rock, Jon Stewart, Busta Rhymes, Jeff Ross and Jimmy Carr.

Although Chappelle was not injured during the incident, video posted to social media immediately after the attack showed a group of individuals gathered on the Hollywood Bowl stage attempting to restrain — and possibly kicking — the suspect. Another video making the rounds on Twitter purportedly showed the suspect being loaded into an ambulance, his right arm visibly dislocated.

During the initial chaos following the attack, Chappelle stood offstage to gather his composure. “It was a trans man,” he said jokingly of the attacker, referencing his controversial comments about transgender individuals in his Netflix stand-up special, The Closer. Stephanie Wash, a reporter and producer for ABC in attendance at the event, tweeted that Rock also poked fun at the melee, returning to the stage to ask, “Was that Will Smith?” (Rock was slapped by the Oscar-winning actor during this years’ Academy Awards in a shocking moment prompted by a joke made at the expense of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

A Twitter video shows Chappelle returned to the stage during the curtain call to address the incident, issuing a shout-out to actor Jamie Foxx — who, according to Deadlinewas among those who rushed to Chappelle’s aid during the attack. “Whenever you’re in trouble, Jamie Foxx will show up in a sheriff’s hat,” Chappelle said as he brought the actor out on stage. Foxx joked that he thought the scene “was part of the show.”

“This man is an absolute genius. We’ve got to make sure we protect him at all times,” Foxx said. “For every comedian that comes out here, man, this means everything. You’re a genius. You’re a legend. I enjoyed myself thoroughly, and we’re not going to let nothing happen to you.”

“I’ve been doing this for 35 years. I just stomped a n—a backstage,” Chappelle added. “I’ve always wanted to do that.”

Rolling Stone has reached out to both representatives for Chappelle and the Los Angeles Police Department for comment.

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