Here are the stunning moments when Dave Chappelle got tackled onstage at Hollywood Bowl

Dave Chappelle holds a microphone and raises his eyebrows onstage.
Comedian Dave Chappelle performing during his 2021 Netflix special “Dave Chappelle: The Closer.”
(Mathieu Bitton / Netflix)

Comedian Dave Chappelle had just finished thanking “one of the most prolific producers that hip-hop has ever presented” onstage at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday when a man emerged from the crowd and tackled the comedian onto the floor.

The sound of Chappelle’s microphone clanking onto the ground echoed through the 17,500-seat amphitheater as the audience looked on in surprise and confusion. What follows is a reconstruction of events based in part on videos recorded on-site.

More than half a dozen people immediately emerged from stage right and rushed after the man, who would later be identified as 23-year-old Isaiah Lee.


Lee ran behind a backdrop as two men slipped across the stage and several others pursued him.

Thud. Thud. Thud, thud, thud.

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.

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“I am going to kill that m—,” a once-again-upright Chappelle shouted into the microphone as security officials scrambled behind the comic and gathered around Lee, according to footage from the incident posted on social media. “Wait, I gotta see this. Thank God that n— was clumsy. He’s back there getting stomped. Where did that s— come from?”

The 48-year-old star also quipped that his attacker “was a trans man,” calling back to the firestorm he ignited last fall by making jokes about transgender people during his controversial Netflix special “The Closer.” The audience on Tuesday night erupted in laughter.

The Emmy winner, who was about halfway through his set at the famed venue for the inaugural Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival, was joined by a number of comics for a show billed as “Dave Chappelle and Friends.” Chappelle had just wrapped up a routine in which he talked about how comics have to worry more these days about their personal security. The performer brought his own security guard, Travis, onstage at one point.

Chappelle was joined by comedian Chris Rock — of recent Oscars fame — who took the microphone from the headliner after the attack to make a self-deprecating joke of his own.


“Was that Will Smith?” asked Rock, who was slapped by the “King Richard” star at the 94th Academy Awards in March, upending the telecast.

“I thought it was you for a second,” Chappelle replied, seemingly exasperated but quickly riffing on the whole incident, according to footage obtained by TMZ. He then walked toward stage left, where security officials had gathered around Lee, and told them to “get that guy the f— out of here, we gonna have some fun.”

“Hollywood Bowl, you owe me 10 minutes because your security caught me slipping. Y’all, wanna rock?” he said, addressing the audience and directing security to “clean that mess up” and get Lee “an ambulance.”

Find interviews, recommendations and more in our day-by-day guide to the citywide Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival, which runs April 28 to May 8.

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Chappelle then approached Lee “to see what he’s doing” and told the crowd he would see if “he has a statement,” moving toward the throng onstage, then joking that everybody was now coming onstage for the curtain call.

He also praised actor and stand-up comic Jamie Foxx, who allegedly got involved in the scuffle with Lee, and brought him center stage: “Make some noise for Foxx. Whenever you’re in trouble, Jamie Foxx will show up in a sheriff’s hat.”

“I thought that was part of the show,” said the “Ray” star, who was indeed wearing a large white hat.


“I grabbed the back of that n—’s head. His hair was spongey. Absorbent,” Chappelle quipped about Lee.

“Listen, I just want to say, man, I’ve had an incredible time,” Foxx continued. “This man [Chappelle] is an absolute genius. We gotta make sure we protect him at all times, man; this is what it’s about. For every comedian that comes out here, man. This means everything. You a genius, you a legend, I enjoy myself thoroughly, and we’re not gonna let nothing happen to you. Give it up.”

“I’ve been doing this 35 years,” Chappelle added. “I just stomped [someone] backstage. Always wanted to do that,” he said, also joking that he saw rapper Busta Rhymes allegedly getting involved.

In a statement Wednesday, Chappelle’s spokeswoman Carla Sims said that the comic is “fully cooperating with the active police investigation into this incident.”

Comedian Dave Chappelle ‘refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment,’ his spokeswoman told The Times.

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“Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl ... he refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment,” Sims said.

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


Netflix, which has stood by the comedian since last fall’s “The Closer” controversy, said: “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.”

This photo combination shows the fake handgun with the real knife blade inside.
This photo combinationshows the fake handgun with the real knife blade inside that was taken from the suspect.

Although Chappelle was uninjured and continued the performance, the incident shocked fans and led to a huge response by the Los Angeles Police Department. Lee, who was injured during his altercation with security officials, apparently had a replica handgun with a knife blade in his possession and was later booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. He was held on $30,000 bail.

“The weapon makes the assault charge more serious — and a felony — because of the bodily harm he could have inflicted,” Rachel Fiset, a criminal defense lawyer contacted by the Times to offer perspective, said Wednesday.

The motive for the attack is unknown, law enforcement sources said, and it’s unclear how Lee got the weapon through Hollywood Bowl security.

Stand-up comedians are tweeting about Dave Chappelle’s latest performance at the Hollywood Bowl, where a man attacked the comic onstage.

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The venue and its management, security team and producers could all potentially be liable should Chapelle want to sue, Fiset said.


“Chappelle has a strong argument that he could be attacked during a performance on stage and the venue should have protections in place for that,” added Fiset, managing partner of Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman in Los Angeles. “I am sure the Hollywood Bowl will take it upon themselves to investigate how this happened, including an investigation into how a deadly weapon was brought into the concert. Comedians and other performers may be suffering the consequences of Will Smith’s assault at the Oscars for a long time and venues now need to step up security to protect talent from attacks on stage.”

Reps forHollywood Bowl have not yet commented on the incident.