It didn’t take Dave Chappelle long to start cracking jokes about getting tackled on stage by an audience member during his set at L.A.’s Hollywood Bowl earlier this week. Last night at The Comedy Store, Chappelle was joined on stage by Chris Rock, whose Academy Awards dust-up with Will Smith was a precursor to the Chappelle attack.
Chappelle said, “At least you got smacked by someone of repute!” while Rock rebutted, “I got smacked by the softest n-ig**ga that ever rapped.” (Rock was also at the Bowl show: After Chappelle’s attacker was subdued, Rock took the stage and jokingly asked the audience “Was that Will Smith?”). Also in attendance: Diddy, Chris Rock, and Kim Kardashian.
Chappelle said that he did not see the man who rushed the stage, who has since been identified by authorities as 23-year-old Isiaah Lee. He also revealed that he ended up speaking to Lee in the aftermath of the attempted assault, and Lee told him that he was trying to draw attention to the struggles of his grandmother, who is facing displacement due to gentrification in Brooklyn. Chappelle also credited Jamie Foxx for helping to calm him down following the incident.
Lee has been taken into custody and could face charges of assault with a deadly weapon for having a gun-shaped blade on his person.
In 2020, Lee, who raps as NoName_Trapper, released a song titled “Dave Chappell.” The record contains the lyric “Walkin’ straight into the Bowl,” which many are interpreting as a reference to the Hollywood Bowl. Chappelle was originally going to perform there in May 2020, but it was canceled due to COVID-19. (Lee shared the song in June.) In a May 4 interview with Rolling Stone, Lee’s brother said the title was chosen solely for SEO reasons, not because he had issues with the comedian at the time.
Towards the end of his May 5 set, Chappelle expressed frustration over what he sees as the inherent dangers of Los Angeles. “I am in the [place] where you sat in the car with Biggie Smalls as he died,” he said to Diddy. “I hate this city.”