Dave Chappelle Attacked Onstage During Hollywood Bowl Performance, Arrest Made

Updated: A man rushed the stage and tackled Chappelle during his Netflix Is a Joke performance at the storied LA venue.
FILE - Dave Chappelle appears during the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Oct. 30, 2021, in Cleveland. Chappelle was tackled during a performance at the Hollywood Bowl Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Security guards chased and overpowered the attacker, and Chappelle was able to continue his performance while the man was taken away in an ambulance. (AP Photo/David Richard, File)
Dave Chappelle

Updated, May 5, 2:27 p.m. ET: The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office officially declined to pursue felony charges for Isaiah Lee who is accused of attacking Dave Chappelle during his Netflix Is a Joke stand-up comedy performance. The case has now reportedly been referred to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for consideration on misdemeanor charges.

Updated, 3:29 p.m. ET: Netflix has issued a statement regarding the attack on Dave Chappelle onstage at the Netflix Is a Joke festival: “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.”

Chappelle’s rep, meanwhile, has provided a statement to The Hollywood Reporter: “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,” the rep said. “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 70k fans of diverse backgrounds during the first Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival, and he refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment.”

Updated, 10:30 a.m. ETAn arrest has been made in the Tuesday night attack on Dave Chappelle during his performance at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl. The 23-year-old male suspect, Isaiah Lee, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and is currently being held on $30,000 bail by the LAPD.

Earlier: Comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked onstage during his performance Tuesday night as part of the Netflix Is a Joke festival at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl.

The video footage first shared by TMZ shows a man rushing across the stage and then tackling the stand-up comedian during his set. After the attack, the assailant then tries to run offstage before he is seemingly reprimanded by security personnel and members of Chappelle’s own team.

As with a number of Chappelle’s recent tour dates, attendees could not use their phones, as they were sealed off in Yondr devices, meaning they could hold onto them but not access them. (Only designated “Phone Use Areas” throughout the venue allow access.) Video footage  does indicate the man was dragged away by security.

NBC News Los Angeles has reported that the Los Angeles Police Department brought a man into custody with a replica gun that can eject a knife blade “when you discharge it correctly.”

Other videos emerging show the attacker climbing onto the stage and, later, after the attack, Chappelle falling to the ground, though he was not physically harmed. NBC News reports that the attacker was a member of the audience. The attacker was taken to the hospital with “superficial injuries” after being detained.

In video to emerge after the attack, Chappelle shouted out to Jamie Foxx, who apparently helped intervene amid the chaos. “Whenever you’re in trouble, Jamie Foxx will show up in a sheriff’s hat,” said Chappelle in video of the show to emerge later. Foxx joked that he thought it was part of the show.

After the incident as seen in video below, Chris Rock came onstage following the unprovoked incident and joked “Was that Will Smith?”

Reports, including in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, indicate that Chappelle after the attack joked, “It was a trans man.” This is in reference to the controversy surrounding his 2021 Netflix special “The Closer,” which drew criticisms from the LGBTQ community alleging transphobic remarks. The issue led to staff walkouts in October 2021.

Per reports, a spokesperson for the Hollywood Bowl told the PA Media news agency that an investigation of the Hollywood Bowl incident is already underway: “The incident that occurred at the Hollywood Bowl on May 3, 2022, is an active investigation and we are unable to comment further at this time.”

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.