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Dave Chappelle Attacked While Performing Set At Hollywood Bowl

On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked onstage while performing at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA, that night. 


As Chappelle was wrapping up his comedy routine, which was part of the “Netflix is a Joke" Festival, a man seated in the audience rushed the stage and tackled the comedian, knocking him to the floor, according to the police and witnesses. 


After tackling Chappelle, video footage of the incident shows the attacker proceeding to get up and attempt to run off-stage before getting caught by security guards and members of Chappelle’s team, who proceeded to kick and punch him. While attendees were required to put their cell phones into specially secured pouches, some were able to record what happened.


The incident stunned the crowd. While describing the incident on Twitter, Farshad Dehbozorgi, a 34-year-old lawyer who attended Tuesday night’s show, stated  that the interruption occurred right at the end of Chappelle’s routine as he was thanking other performers.


“Everybody was shocked,” Dehbozorgi told The New York Times in an interview. “Nobody could believe what was going on.”


The “Netflix is a Joke” Festival, is an event that features more than 100 artists performing at venues across the city of Los Angeles. It is scheduled to run from Thursday, April 28, 2022, through Sunday, May 8, 2022.


The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) confirmed the incident to NBC Los Angeles and noted that while Chappelle was not injured, the suspect was arrested and transported to a local hospital to be treated for ‘superficia’l injuries. The police also noted that the suspect was armed with a replica handgun with a knife blade inside.


The LAPD has identified the suspect as a 23-year-old man named Isaiah Lee, who was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Lee’s bail has been set for $30,000. It remains unknown if he has retained a lawyer.


Netflix issued a statement condemning the attack.


 “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,” a spokesperson for the streaming giant said.


Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Chappelle, 48, released the following statement: "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 comedian’s spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter


“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 70,000 fans of diverse backgrounds during the first Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival,” Chappelle’s spokesperson stated.


According to multiple media outlets, a few minutes after Lee was taken away by the LAPD, Chappelle returned to the stage calling Lee a “trans man”, causing the crowd to laugh. 


A short time later, comedian Chris Rock walked up onstage and put his arm around Chappelle.


“Was that Will Smith?” Rock joked, referencing the infamous moment where he was slapped onstage at the Oscars by Will Smith, causing Chappelle and the audience to burst into laughter.


The attack on Dave Chappelle comes a little over a month after Smith slapped Rock on stage at the Oscars for making a G.I. Jane joke about the former’s wife Jada’s shaved head (Jada shaved her head due to suffering from alopecia). After receiving so much backlash for the incident, Smith apologizes to Rock and resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which runs the Oscars. The Academy also banned Smith from attending The Oscars or any related Academy events for 10 years.


In the aftermath of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars, many comedians publicly expressed their fears that the incident would inspire similar attacks. Ironically, the theme of Chappelle’s routine at The Hollywood Bowl prior to being tackled was about how comedians would now have to worry for their own safety in the wake of the Will Smith-Chris Rock slapping incident. 



  • Associated Press. "Dave Chappelle Tackled During Comedy Show, Police Arrest Man." AP NEWS, 4 May 2022,

  • Bryson Taylor, Derrick, et al. "Dave Chappelle Attacked While Performing at the Hollywood Bowl." The New York Times - Breaking News, US News, World News and Videos, 4 May 2022,

  • Forde, Kisha. "Chris Rock Made Will Smith Joke After Dave Chappelle's Onstage Attack." E! Online, 4 May 2022,

  • Strause, Jackie. "Dave Chappelle Refuses to Let Onstage Attack “Overshadow” Hollywood Bowl Sets." The Hollywood Reporter, 4 May 2022,

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Tags: #Comedy #Entertainment #Assault #ChrisRock #DaveChappelle #HollywoodBowl


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