Dave Chappelle Rep Addresses ‘Unsettling’ Attack at Netflix Comedy Festival

Dave Chappelle in The Closer. (Credit: Netflix)

A spokesperson for Dave Chappelle has addressed Tuesday night’s incident in which the comedian was tackled by a fan while performing a standup set at the “Netflix Is a Joke” festival in Los Angeles.

In a statement Wednesday, the rep said Chappelle “refuses” to let the attack overshadow his performance.

“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,” the statement said.

“As unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show,” the statement continued. “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. Other special comedic guests last night included Earthquake, Leslie Jones, Jeff Ross, Sebastian, Jon Stewart and Michelle Wolf.”

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Netflix also addressed the incident, saying in a statement Wednesday, “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.”

Video posted on social media by fans at the performance showed the man charging Chappelle as he delivered his comedy set. The two then fell to the ground as shocked attendees looked on.

After the altercation, Chris Rock joined Chappelle on stage and asked, “Was that Will Smith?”, referencing the infamous moment when the King Richard star slapped him at the Oscars for making a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

Security hauled the man off the stage at the Hollywood Bowl and first responders quickly responded. The man, who appeared to have a broken arm, was loaded into an ambulance outside the venue by firefighters and paramedics.

According to local news reports, the man was arrested, and has been identified as Isaiah Lee, 23. He was holding a replica gun with a knife attached when he was arrested.

The “Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival” began on April 28 and runs through May 8. The event includes over 250 live shows across more than 30 venues around Los Angeles and is produced by Netflix in association with Live Nation.