Dave Chappelle ‘refuses to allow’ Hollywood Bowl attack to overshadow historic night

Dave Chappelle wears a suit jacket and tie and glasses.
Comedian Dave Chappelle at an event in 2019.
(Owen Sweeney / Invision / AP)

Comedian Dave Chappelle, who was attacked onstage Tuesday night while performing at the Hollywood Bowl, is not letting the violent incident eclipse what he believes was a historic evening.

His spokeswoman Carla Sims said Wednesday that the comedian is fully cooperating with the active police investigation, which resulted from 23-year-old Isaiah Lee rushing the amphitheater stage and knocking the Emmy winner to the ground during an appearance as part of the inaugural Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival.

Lee was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and is being held on $30,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. He was allegedly carrying a replica handgun with a knife blade when he ran onstage, law enforcement said. A motive is still unclear.

A comic seated up front says he warned security after seeing the suspect jump a barricade. ‘It could have been prevented,’ Tehran Von Ghasri said.

“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,” Sims said Wednesday in an e-mail to The Times.

Sims added that Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music and set record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, a run that “ties Chappelle with Monty Python for the most headlined shows by any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl.” She said he reached 70,000 fans during the festival.


“As unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show,” she added. “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,” Sims said.

A number of cameras captured the moment Dave Chappelle was tackled Tuesday night at the Hollywood Bowl. Here is a reconstructed timeline of events.

Footage from the event shows both Rock, who was the recipient of Will Smith’s infamous Oscars slap, and Foxx taking the stage with Chappelle, quipping and praising the comedian after the altercation. Other guests at the “Dave Chappelle and Friends” show included Earthquake, Leslie Jones, Jeff Ross, Sebastian Maniscalco, Jon Stewart and Michelle Wolf.

Chappelle, who was not injured, had joked earlier during his set about increasing security following the Oscars slap.

A comic seated up front says he warned security after seeing the suspect jump a barricade. ‘It could have been prevented,’ Tehran Von Ghasri said.

In a separate statement, streaming giant Netflix, which has stood by the comedian since he ignited a cultural firestorm last fall with jokes about transgender people made during his special “The Closer,” added, “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.”