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Dave Chappelle won’t allow attack to ‘overshadow the magic’ of the show, rep says

A man attempted to tackle the comedian on stage at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday night.
/ Source: TODAY

Dave Chappelle is focusing on his accomplishments after an audience member rushed the stage and tried to tackle him during a stand-up show at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday night.

The comedian was performing at the famous Los Angeles venue when a man attempted to attack him. Security was able to step in and restrain the man. 

“Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl,” his representative, Carla Sims, said in a statement sent to NBC News in response to the incident. 

Sims pointed out that Chappelle’s show, which was a part of the Netflix Is A Joke Festival, tied him with comedy troupe Monty Python as the comedians who have headlined the most performances at the Hollywood Bowl.

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“He refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment,” the statement said. 

His rep called the scuffle “unfortunate and unsettling,” but noted that Chappelle continued with the show.

“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 — which was released on Luminary,” the statement concluded. “Other special comedic guests last night included Earthquake, Leslie Jones, Jeff Ross, Sebastian, Jon Stewart and Michelle Wolf.”

Rock appeared onstage after the incident and joked "Was that Will Smith?" according to videos shared on social media.

Sims later told NBC News that Chappelle still plans to go ahead with his future tour performances. 

In a statement, a Netflix spokesperson said venues handle security and the streaming platform is now discussing security protocols for future events. 

“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,” the Netflix spokesperson said.

Officials at the Hollywood Bowl said they could not comment on the ongoing investigation. However, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, which manages events for the Hollywood Bowl, informed NBC News that the safety of its artists, visitors and staff is its "top priority."

“The incident that occurred at the Hollywood Bowl on May 3, 2022 remains an active investigation, and we are unable to comment further at this time,” the statement concluded.

Social media users have posted multiple videos of the attack. Footage shows Chappelle getting ready to exit the stage before the suspect approaches him and tries to knock him to the ground. The comedian was not injured. 

The Los Angeles Police Department said the male suspect was armed with a replica gun that can eject a knife blade when discharged properly.

On Wednesday, an LAPD spokesperson told NBC news that 23-year-old Isaiah Lee had been charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon. Police also said they do not have any immediate details about the motive behind the attack. 

An attendee told NBC News that the comedian later joked about the shocking moment when he returned to the stage. 

Chappelle and the streaming platform have been under fire in recent months for the comments he made about the transgender community in his 2021 Netflix comedy special “The Closer.”

According to the Hollywood Reporter, a video showed Chappelle jokingly saying, “It was a trans man,” after the attack. (The gender identity of the attacker was not immediately known.)