Comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked when an armed man tackled him on stage during his performance at the Netflix Is a Joke Comedy Festival on Tuesday, May 3.
The male suspect was armed with a replica of a gun that could eject a knife blade, the Los Angeles Police Department told NBC News. The suspect had been in the audience during the “Dave Chappelle and Friends” show prior to the attack. He then charged the stage and tackled Chappelle, 48, to the ground before the comedian was about to exit.
Chappelle was not injured during the attack. Videos circulating on social media show security guards rushing to pull the suspect off of the Chappelle’s Show creator. The assailant was later seen leaving in an ambulance. The man is being held on $30,000 bail after being charged for assault with a deadly weapon, In Touch confirmed.
After the incident, the Half Baked actor returned on stage to address the crowd. “I’ve been doing this for 35 years … [I’ve] always wanted to do that,” Chappelle said while laughing about “stomping” his assailant on stage, according to videos on social media.
He also gave a shout-out to Jamie Foxx for appearing with him, although the Django Unchained actor, 54, admitted he “thought that was part of the show.”
“Whenever you’re in trouble, Jamie Foxx will show up in a sheriff’s hat,” Chappelle said, implying that the Just Mercy actor was involved in taking down the assailant. “Listen, I just want to say man, I’ve had an incredible time. This man is an absolute genius. We got to make sure we protect him at all times man. This is what it’s about. For every comedian who comes out here man, this means everything. You a genius, you a legend. I enjoyed myself thoroughly, and we’re not going to let nothing happen to you.”
Chappelle previously came under fire for his jokes about the transgender community in his Netflix special The Closer, with Netflix employees staging a walkout in a demand for change amid the company’s cordial relationship with the longtime stand-up. Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos stood firm in his support of Chappelle.
“We know that a number of you have been left angry, disappointed and hurt by our decision to put Dave Chappelle’s latest special on Netflix,” the streaming executive wrote in an email, according to Variety.
“With The Closer, we understand that the concern is not about offensive-to-some content but titles which could increase real world harm (such as further marginalizing already marginalized groups, hate, violence etc.) Last year, we heard similar concerns about 365 Days and violence against women. While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”
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