Comedian Dave Chappelle accepts the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Oct. 27 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The show will air on PBS in January. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)
Comedian Dave Chappelle accepts the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Oct. 27 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The show will air on PBS in January. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)

Will Smith may have set the bar for assaulting comedians onstage, and after a man attacked Dave Chappelle at the Hollywood Bowl, the standup world might be on high alert.

Viral video of the Monday incident showed suspect Isaiah Lee of Los Angeles rushing the stage and tackling Chappelle.

Authorities confirmed that Lee, 23, was armed with a replica handgun that contained a knife blade, but Chappelle escaped injury, perhaps in part because his friends and personal security swiftly tackled the perpetrator. 

The incident immediately conjured images of Smith’s attack on Chris Rock at this year’s Academy Awards.

Fellow comedian Jamie Foxx, rapper Busta Rhymes and Rock all ran onto the stage to help Chappelle.

“Was that Will Smith?” Rock quipped to the delight of Chappelle and the large crowd that witnessed the Hollywood Bowl assault.

While Smith slapped Rock at the Oscars because of a joke Rock told about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chappelle has received heavy criticism for an earlier Netflix routine about the LGBTQ community.

Foxx said he initially thought the incident was part of Chappelle’s act.

“I’ve had an incredible time. This man is an absolute genius,” Foxx said. “We’ve got to make sure we protect him at all times.”

Chappelle reportedly said afterward, “Whenever you’re in trouble, Jamie Foxx will show up in a sheriff’s hat.”

He also made light of the incident.

“I’ve been doing this 35 years. I just stomped a [man] backstage,” Chappelle said. “I always wanted to do that. I saw Busta Rhymes there, like, ‘That’s how you do it, dog.’”

Photos after the attack showed Lee with cuts and bruises.

Authorities held him on $30,000 bail.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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