US Comedian Dave Chapelle has spoken out following a terrifying attack during his Hollywood Bowl show in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
The comedian had been part way through a set as part of the highly anticipated Netflix is a Joke festival, when audience member Isaiah Lee allegedly stormed the stage and “charged and tackled” the performer.
He has since been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, with police confirming he had been carrying a replica gun that could eject a knife blade.
On Wednesday the comedy veteran released a formal statement confirming that he would not let the attack overshadow his show and is keen to work with police to bring his attacker to justice.
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The statement from his spokesperson read: “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.
“As unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show.”
Following the incident, Chapelle continued to perform his set, but went on to include a controversial joke that the attacker “was a trans man”, which was widely condemned online for being needlessly transphobic.
The suspect’s brother later told Rolling Stone that he suffers from mental health problems and has connections to the trans community, although it is unclear what this connection is.
Aaron Lee told the publication: “I don’t have anything negative to say about Isaiah. He’s a performing artist who tries to stay as positive as possible. He does have a history of mental health issues. He does take medicine. Maybe he missed out on taking his prescription. But he’s not the type to just lash out. I don’t understand.”
The event is the first of its kind hosted by Netflix, but the streaming giant has yet to comment on the incident.
Comedian Jimmy Carr, who was in attendance at the time, deemed the incident a “crazy” experience. Taking to twitter to share his thoughts he said: “The Hollywood Bowl show with the legendary Dave Chappelle was crazy. Just happy everyone’s ok.”
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Jamie Foxx was also present at the show and later said: “Listen, I just want to say, this man is an absolute genius. We’ve got to make sure we protect him at all times.
“For every comedian who comes out here, 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.”
The attack is just the latest to rock the comedy circuit, coming just weeks after Chris Rock was infamously slapped by Will Smith after making a joke at Jada Pinkett Smith’s expense during this year’s Oscars.
In scenes that shocked the entire world, the actor was caught on camera slapping the comedian mid ceremony for the joke, before Smith returned to his seat and shouted “keep my wife’s name out of your f*****g mouth.”
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