3.9k Share this
Comedian Dave Chappelle is refusing to let one unruly audience member ruin what he believed to be a historic run at the Hollywood Bowl.
The 48-year-old funnyman was wrapping up his set at the Los Angeles venue Tuesday night when an audience member rushed the stage and tackled him to the ground.
The alleged assailant, who has since been identified as Isaiah Lee, was armed at the time with a replica handgun that was also outfitted with a blade. Both security personnel and spectators quickly subdued the 23-year-old suspect, giving Chapelle enough time to compose himself and wrap up his performance.
His spokeswoman Carla Sims said Wednesday that the Emmy winner is cooperating with a police investigation into the matter, but is otherwise focusing on the positive aspects of his performance, delivered as part of the Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival.
“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,” Sims wrote in an e-mail Wednesday to The Los Angeles Times.
Sims said that Chappelle enjoyed record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl. His most recent appearance tied “Chappelle with Monty Python for the most headlined shows by any comedian at the” popular venue.
She added that he reached some 70,000 fans during the festival.
“As unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show,” Sims said. “Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock helped calm the crowd with humor before Chappelle introduced the last and featured musical guests for the evening, hip-hop artists yasiin bey and Talib Kweli, a.k.a. Black Star, who performed music from their new album — the first in nearly 24 years.”
In a separate statement, Netflix stood by Chappelle, just as the streaming giant has done in wake of controversy sparked by his hour-long comedy special “The Closer.” In it, he declares that “gender is a fact” while discussing the transgender community, the members of which have been left hurt and angered by his commentary on the subject.
“We care deeply about the safety of creators and we strongly defend the right of stand-up comedians to perform on stage without fear of violence,” Netflix said.
Lee was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and is being held on $30,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. A motive behind the attack was unclear, but Lee ironically launched himself on stage shortly after Chapelle quipped about needing more security.