US comedian and actor Dave Chappelle was tackled to the ground by an unidentified individual while performing on Tuesday night at ‘Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival’ in Los Angeles.
Security reacted by cornering the man and allegedly beating him up. Later, the suspect was arrested and hospitalized with multiple injuries. He was reportedly armed with a replica gun that could eject a knife blade, but it remains unclear whether the attacker intended to use it. His motives are also unknown.
Following the attack, Chappelle appeared unhurt and continued his performance. He commented on the incident, saying, “It was a trans man.” The joke was a reference to the controversy surrounding his comments on the transgender community. Last year, the comedian faced backlash for stating that “gender is a fact.”
Later on in the show, comedian Chris Rock, who had performed earlier in the evening, came on stage to support his colleague. “Was that Will Smith?” he joked, referencing the incident that took place last month at the Academy Awards ceremony, when Will Smith slapped Rock on stage during his performance for making a joke about the actor’s wife.
Both of these incidents have raised concerns about the safety of comedians performing onstage, given the old narrative that no comedian should be punished for his jokes or opinions. Some have suggested live audiences have forgotten how to behave in public due to a long Covid lockdown.