Dave Chappelle not letting 'unfortunate and unsettling' assault overshadow historic performances

Dave Chappelle does not want his assault to "overshadow" his historic performance at the Hollywood Bowl.

"The performances by Chappelle at the Hollywood Bowl were epic and record-breaking and he refuses to allow [Tuesday's] incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment," his rep told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. "Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record-breaking sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl. This run ties Chappelle with Monty Python for the most headlined shows by any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, reaching 70,000 fans of diverse backgrounds during the first Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival."

Chappelle’s rep added, "As unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show," and praised Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock for helping to "calm the crowd with humor."

The comedian was attacked during his Dave Chappelle & Friends set. An LAPD spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo Entertainment that the suspect Isaiah Lee, 23, was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon at 10:50 p.m. PT on May 3. Lee was armed with a replica gun that can eject a knife blade when discharged.

This photo combination provided by the Los Angeles Police Department shows the fake handgun with the real knife blade inside that was taken from the man who attacked comedian Dave Chappelle at the Hollywood Bowl, Tuesday, May 2, 2022. Security guards overpowered the attacker, Isaiah Lee, 23, who was detained and arrested for assault with a deadly weapon. Chappelle was able to continue his performance.(Los Angeles Police Dept. via AP)

Luckily, that didn't come to pass. After Lee ran onstage and tackled Chappelle, he ran behind a screen until security apprehended him. He was taken to the hospital with apparent injuries, and is now in L.A. County Jail with bail set at $30,000.

(Screenshot: Isaiah Lee/Los Angeles Sheriff's Department)
(Screenshot: Isaiah Lee/Los Angeles Sheriff's Department)

While Lee was booked on a felony charge, a Los Angeles District Attorney spokesperson said Thursday that the case is now being referred to the L.A. City Attorney for misdemeanor consideration.

"After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors determined that while criminal conduct occurred, the evidence as presented did not constitute felony conduct," a spokesperson said.

Chappelle quickly recovered making jokes about his attacker. Rock, who performed earlier in the night, later came out and quipped, "Was that Will Smith?," referring to his infamous Oscars assault. Chappelle and Foxx also bantered about what went down.

Lee, an aspiring rapper whose verified NoName_Trapper Spotify account has 5,700 listeners, previously released a 2020 song titled "Dave Chappell" (sic). In the song, he seemingly references the famed L.A. venue where the attack took place, saying, "Walkin’ straight into da Bowl."

Netflix said in a statement, “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," and a rep for the Hollywood Bowl said there is an investigation into the incident. However, it's yet another incident, following the Oscars drama, that has comedians on edge.

Howie Mandel told E! News's Daily Pop, "Not to comment on what happened at the Academy Awards, but I thought that that opened the flood gates. We're already as comedians being attacked as far as being canceled for something that you don't like, something that you find offensive, something that you think is too soon."

Mandel, who has been in the business for 45 years, said what happened at the Oscars "just triggers. Violence triggers violence. And I think this is the beginning of the end for comedy. I really believe that."

Here are some other reactions from performers, including Madonna, who was at the show and called the attack "disturbing":