Several event attendees posted videos of the incident on Tuesday evening (May 3), the footage seeming to show Chappelle on stage performing when a man to his right rushes at him and tackles him to the floor.
The man is then seen to be dragged away by security.
NBC News Los Angeles reported that the LAPD had confirmed they had taken a man into custody and that he was armed with a replica gun “that can eject a knife blade” when discharged correctly. It wasn’t immediately clear if the man tried to use the weapon. Police said that Chappelle was not injured in the incident.
In video footage after the attack, Chappelle is seen to recover his composure and joke, “It was a trans man.” The joke was a reference to the ongoing controversy surrounding some of the comedian’s jokes in his Netflix specials that have been construed as transphobic.
Stephanie Wash, a journalist for ABC, tweeted that Chris Rock, who performed earlier in the evening, then came on stage and joked: “Was that Will Smith?”
Later, in video of the curtain call, Chappelle spoke more about the incident and called out to thank actor-comedian Jamie Foxx. “Whenever you’re in trouble, Jamie Foxx will show up in a sheriff’s hat,” said Chappelle.
“N——, I thought that was part of the show, I didn’t know what the fuck…” Foxx jokes in response.
Chappelle then says, “I grabbed the back of that n—— head. His hair was spongy. Absorbent”
Foxx then takes a moment to address the crowd and Chappelle. “Listen, I just want to say, this man is an absolute genius. We’ve got to make sure we protect him at all times,” said Foxx.
He added, “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.”
Chappelle then jokes to Foxx, “I’ve been doing this for 35 years. I just stomped a n——— backstage. I’ve always wanted to do that.”
Chappelle was performing as part of the Netflix Is A Joke Fest, a Los Angeles comedy festival put on by streaming giant Netflix.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Chappelle’s reps and Netflix for comment. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, which operates the Hollywood Bowl, was unable to comment as there was an active investigation into the incident.
The attack on Chappelle is likely to reignite worries in the comedy community about audience members rushing the stage and attacking comedians. The issue was highlighted after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars last month.
A THR report in the aftermath of the slap incident, showed that comedy clubs were considering adding security guards, preshow warnings and even metal detectors for shows.
Dave Chappelle just got attacked on stage
— Hoodville (@Hoodville_) May 4, 2022
This article originally appeared in THR.com.