Chappelle attacker charged with assault

by Trinity Cardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


When actor Will Smith smacked comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars, a strange thing happened on Twitter. A mob of random people worked themselves into a fervor calling for standup Dave Chappelle to be the next comedian struck.

This week, whoever belonged to that surprisingly and depressingly large group got their wish. For reasons not yet clear, a man attacked Chappelle while the comedian was performing a set at the Hollywood Bowl in California.

As reported by Reuters, Los Angeles police have charged 23-year-old aspiring rapper Isaiah Lee with assault.

In video captured by someone in the Hollywood Bowl audience, Lee, who was still being held on a $30,000 bond as of this writing, appears to jump on stage and attempt to shoulder tackle Chappelle only to be captured by security and, in a surreal moment, actor Jamie Foxx.

Lee seemed to get the worse end of the exchange as photos of him after his attack showed him to have suffered bruising and cuts.

For the most part, Chappelle took most of the episode in stride and is seen cracking jokes in subsequent videos.

“Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl,” the comedian’s production company said in a statement. “This run ties Chappelle with Monty Python for the most headlined shows by any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, reaching 70k fans of diverse backgrounds … he refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment.”

Rock, who had performed earlier in the night, appeared on stage to ask “Was that Will Smith?”

Wednesday, more information emerged about Lee, who police said was carrying a knife that was fashioned to look like a fake gun. As can be seen in this New York Post piece, prior to going to the Hollywood Bowl, Lee used an Instagram filter to create an image of himself looking like a demon.

Despite the general positivity with which Chappelle responded to his attack, the matter of the safety of performers on stage was brought into starker focus, with now two top-flight comedians having been attacked.

“Watching what happened to Dave last night confirmed my fear,” comedian Howie Mandel told Extra’s Billy Bush. “I was watching it kind of live on Twitter and I turned to my wife and I said, ‘I don’t want to. I don’t want to go on stage. I’m just really afraid.’”