Dave Chappelle was attacked Tuesday night in Los Angeles by a man who rushed the stage and tackled the comedian during an event at the Hollywood Bowl.
According to NBC News, authorities identified the suspect as Isaiah Lee, 23. A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson said Lee — who faces charges of a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon — was reportedly in possession of a replica gun that could eject a knife blade “when you discharge it correctly.” His bail has been set at $30,000.
LAPD confirmed Lee was in the audience before the attack and lunged at Chappelle as the comedian was about to leave the stage. Event security intervened, pulling Lee off Chappelle before he was detained by police. Although Chappelle was not injured during the incident, police reported Lee sustained superficial injuries and was taken to a local hospital.
A scan of social media accounts early Wednesday morning uncovered a private Instagram account using the name “Isaiah Lee” under the username @noname_trapper. In a subsequent interview with Rolling Stone, Lee’s older brother Aaron Lee confirmed the account belonged to his sibling, stating that the younger Lee performed under the moniker Noname Trapper and once released a song titled “Dave Chappelle.”
The contentious comedian was performing at the historic Los Angeles venue as a part of Netflix Is a Joke Fest, a city-wide comedy festival sponsored by the streaming giant. In addition to Chappelle, the evening’s lineup boasted an all-star roster of musicians and comedians — including Black Star, Chris Rock, Jon Stewart, Busta Rhymes, Jeff Ross and Jimmy Carr.
A spokesperson for Chappelle praised the comedian’s of shows at the Hollywood Bowl and said Chappelle “refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment” and noted he “is fully cooperating with the active police investigation into this incident.”
In a statement, a Netflix spokesperson told Variety, “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 to social media immediately after the attack showed a group of individuals gathered on the Hollywood Bowl stage attempting to restrain — and possibly kicking — the suspect. Another video making the rounds on Twitter purportedly showed Lee being loaded into an ambulance, his right arm visibly dislocated.
During the initial chaos following the attack, Chappelle stood offstage to gather his composure. “It was a trans man,” he said jokingly of the attacker, referencing his controversial comments about transgender individuals in his Netflix stand-up special, The Closer. Stephanie Wash, a reporter and producer for ABC in attendance at the event, tweeted that Rock also poked fun at the melee, returning to the stage to ask, “Was that Will Smith?” (Rock was slapped by the Oscar-winning actor during this year’s Academy Awards in a shocking moment prompted by a joke made at the expense of Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.)
A Twitter video shows Chappelle returned to the stage during the curtain call to address the incident, issuing a shout-out to actor Jamie Foxx — who, according to Deadline, was among those who rushed to Chappelle’s aid during the attack. “Whenever you’re in trouble, Jamie Foxx will show up in a sheriff’s hat,” Chappelle said as he brought the actor out on stage. Foxx joked that he thought the scene “was part of the show.”
“This man is an absolute genius. We’ve got to make sure we protect him at all times,” Foxx said. “For every comedian that comes out here, man, this means everything. You’re a genius. You’re a legend. I enjoyed myself thoroughly, and we’re not going to let nothing happen to you.”
“I’ve been doing this for 35 years. I just stomped a n—a backstage,” Chappelle added. “I’ve always wanted to do that.”
Dave Chappelle just got attacked on stage
— Hoodville (@Hoodville_) May 4, 2022
This story was updated 5/4/22 at 9:45 a.m. with the identity of the suspect, Isaiah Lee. This story was updated 5/4/22 at 3:25 p.m. ET with a statement from Netflix. This story was updated 5/4/22 at 3:51 p.m. ET with a statement from a Chappelle spokesperson.