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Kevin Hart says it’s time for audiences ‘to get back to a place of respect’ after Dave Chappelle attack

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Actor and comedian Kevin Hart has called for more respect from audiences after comic Dave Chappelle was attacked on stage earlier this week.

Chappelle, 48, was performing at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Tuesday night (3 May) as part of the Netflix is a Joke festival when a man rushed on to the stage and attacked him.

Speaking on US chat show Jimmy Kimmel Live, Hart commended Chappelle for dealing with the attack and continuing his performance.

Hart, 42, told Mike Birbiglia, who is standing in for Kimmel while he has Covid: “Dave went back after that and finished doing the show. Didn’t let that thing be a big thing.

“Quickly moved on from it and got back to doing comedy, and that’s what a professional does.

“Ultimately, these moments of improfessionalism should not break professionals.”

Actor Jamie Foxx joined Chappelle on stage and helped apprehend the alleged attacker before the performance continued, according to reports.

The moment Chappelle was attacked (Twitter)
The moment Chappelle was attacked (Twitter)

The attacker, identified as Isaiah Lee, 23, was later charged with four misdemeanour counts: battery, possession of a weapon with intent to assault, unauthorised access to the stage area during a performance, and commission of an act that delays an event or interferes with a performer.

Hart also called for greater respect for comedians and live acts, saying: “It’s time to get back to a place of respect for your live entertainer.”

The Jumanji actor said: “Somebody getting their ass whipped sends a message out to other people that was like, ‘You know, I was thinking about doing that, but seeing that, I don’t really want to do that.’

“I think that the world that we’re in right now, there’s a lot of lines that have gotten blurred, and sometimes you got to take a couple steps backwards to take some steps forwards.”

Chappelle previously faced a backlash over comments about transgender people in his Netflix comedy special The Closer.

The comedian said “gender is a fact” and shared his backing for JK Rowling, who has also been criticised for her remarks about the concept of biological sex.

Hart recalled an incident when he was hit with a “buffalo wing” at one of his live shows, describing it as the “worst” experience he had had with heckling.

He said: “But here’s what people have forgotten: in stand-up comedy it’s always been the world of heckler and comedian.

“Comedian has always dealt with heckler, heckler has always shouted out things because he felt that he could.

“A comedian’s way of shutting that down was to say things back. It wasn’t bullying. It wasn’t picking on. It was all done in fun.

“We’ve now lost sight of the relationship of audience to comedian, and that line has gotten blurred.”

He continued: “So when I say we need to get back to the place of respecting the entertainer, respect the craft. If you’re coming, come and have a good time and enjoy the person that you saw; if you have no interest in that, you don’t have to buy a ticket.”

Chappelle released a statement through his spokesperson noting that his four-night run at the Hollywood Bowl ties him with Monty Python for the most headlined shows of any comedian at the famous venue and added that he refused to allow the “incident to overshadow the magic” of the historic moment.

The attack on Chappelle came after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars over a joke the comic made about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

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