A man accused of attacking comedian Dave Chappelle onstage at the Hollywood Bowl remained jailed and could appear in court as early as Thursday as the comedy world continues to recover from the brazen attack.
Isaiah Lee, 23, of Los Angeles, was being held in lieu of $30,000 bond on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after his arrest Tuesday night.
Authorities said Lee rushed to the Bowl stage around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday while Chappelle was performing at the Netflix Is A Joke festival. Video online showed Chappelle being thrown to the ground as venue security personnel rushed to the stage to subdue his assailant. Among those running to protect Chappelle was actor/comedian Jamie Foxx.
According to the LAPD, the suspect was in possession of a replica handgun fitted with a retractable knife blade. The LAPD circulated photos of the weapon Wednesday afternoon.
The suspect attempted to sneak backstage after the attack, but was forcefully subdued by security. Later footage showed the bloodied attacker being placed on a stretcher and taken to an ambulance.
Chappelle quickly regained his composure and continued playing. He joked, “He was a trans man,” a reference to the controversy surrounding some of Chappelle’s jokes in a previous Netflix special that some condemned as transphobic. Chappelle also thanked Foxx for helping subdue the suspect.
The attack was eerily reminiscent of actor Will Smith’s assault on comedian Chris Rock at this year’s Oscars. Smith took the stage at the Dolby Theater and punched Rock in the face after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Rock, who performed earlier in the show on Tuesday night, came to the stage at the Hollywood Bowl after Chappelle’s assault and joked, “Is Will Smith?”
It is unclear how the suspect was able to transport a weapon to the scene.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, which oversees the Bowl, declined to comment at length on the incident, releasing a statement saying, “The safety of our performers, visitors and staff is the LA Phil’s top priority. The incident that occurred at the Hollywood Bowl on May 3, 2022 remains an active investigation, and we are unable to comment further at this time.
On Instagram, Lee goes by the nickname “Noname_Trapper”, which is the name of a rapper whose work includes a 2020 song called “Dave Chappelle”. Lee posted a short video to Instagram on Tuesday, saying nothing but showing him wearing the same hoodie he is pictured in handcuffed to the paramedics’ stretcher on Tuesday night following the attack. Lee doesn’t say anything on the short video, but he used a video filter showing himself with devilish horns on his head and blood pouring from his nose – also similar to the blood seen on his face after his Bowl detention.
Tuesday’s attack happened on the final night of a four-night engagement by Chappelle and other performers at the Bowl as part of the Netflix Is A Joke Festival.
Carla Sims, a representative for Chappelle, released a statement on Wednesday calling the attack “unfortunate and disturbing,” but said the comedian wasn’t letting it spoil the overall performance streak.
“Dave Chappelle celebrated four nights of comedy and music, setting record sales for a comedian at the Hollywood Bowl,” according to Sims. “This race ties Chappelle to Monty Python for the most successful shows of any comedian at the Hollywood Bowl, reaching 70,000 fans from all walks of life during the first Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival, and he refuses to let the incident of last night eclipse the magic of this historic moment.
Netflix released a statement saying, “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.”
The attack, which comes weeks after Will Smith’s assault on Rock at the Oscars, has reignited concerns about violence directed at comedians while performing.
Jamie Masada, owner of the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, announced on Wednesday that he would be launching a fundraiser to “help end violence in America.”
“People need to come together, as they have for so many other causes, to push back against violence in our society and deter others from acting in selfish and violent ways,” he said in a statement. . “If we let the violence win and don’t show our support, then the comedy dies.”
The club posted a message on its marquee with a photo of Chappelle and proclaiming “Protect our comics! Protect our First Amendment!
Club officials told TMZ the venue is tightening security to protect performers and will begin using metal detectors for guests. Security upgrades were already in the planning stage, but were brought forward due to attacks on Chappelle and Rock.