Dave Chappelle Attacked by Man While Onstage at Hollywood Bowl

A man is seen running onstage and tackling the comedian.

Comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked and tackled onstage Tuesday night as he performed at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl arena as part of the Netflix Is A Joke Festival.

Los Angeles police confirmed to ET that they responded to an incident at the venue around 10:45 p.m. PT, and a man, who authorities say was a concertgoer and was armed with a replica gun with a knife blade, was taken into custody after attacking a "famous comedian" they declined to name. The attacker was seen in one video outside the venue on a stretcher with a bent elbow, and was reportedly taken to the hospital for "superficial injuries." 

Police say that nobody else appeared to be injured.

"Chapelle was hit in the ribs," a source tells ET. "It all happened so quickly, and he was in shock, but handled it like a pro. He was running on adrenaline."

Dave Chappelle is seen leaving his performance at the Hollywood Bowl after being attacked on stage on May 4, 2022. - BACKGRID

Multiple videos of the incident were captured by those in the audience, despite cell phones being banned during the performance. 

An eyewitness recalls to ET that Chappelle had begun his set and the audience was having a great time. The eyewitness says they saw a man walking toward the stage and climb up, but that it did not seem like anyone paid attention until the man was completely on the stage. While the eyewitness initially thought the man was a staff member or part of the show, in a split second, he charged Chappelle. According to the eyewitness, the comedian did a good job of dodging the actual tackle. The eyewitness notes that, before anyone could understand what was happening, security came and quickly grabbed the attacker and everyone in the audience was in shock. 

Chappelle continued the show, appearing unscathed by the sudden interruption. "I've been doing this 35 years -- I just stomped a n***a backstage. Always wanted to do that," he told the audience.

Chapelle even gave a shout-out to Jamie Foxx, who helped diffuse the situation. "Whenever you're in trouble, Jamie Foxx will show up," he said in a video recorded by concertgoer @e5quire. (Note, the video below includes strong language.)

Foxx joked he thought it was part of the show before praising Chappelle. "This man is an incredible genius, we got to protect him at all times. ...We ain't going to have nothing happen to you." 

A source tells ET that it was "chaos onstage and emotions were running high." The source says Chapelle and Foxx stepped into the scrum with the security to tackle the attacker. "Jamie Foxx said he saw a gun and stepped in to help the security," notes the source. 

Also backstage at the time of the incident was Rihanna, A$AP Rocky and DaBaby. "Rihanna was backstage looking like she was about to go into labor any minute!" another source tells ET, noting they were guests of Chapelle but stayed out of harm's way during the chaos.

"They did not get caught up in the chaos onstage," shares the source. "They were nowhere near the attack and left shortly after."

In part of a statement, Chappelle's rep said that he "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 70k fans of diverse backgrounds during the first Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival, and he refuses to allow last night’s incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment."

According to the rep, the comedian is "fully cooperating with the active police investigation into this incident."

A Netflix spokesperson also 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."

Meanwhile, ET also learned that Netflix is actively discussing the security protocols for future events, as security for the Netflix is a Joke Festival is currently handled by the venues.

Dave Chappelle is seen leaving his performance at the Hollywood Bowl after being attacked on stage on May 4, 2022. - BACKGRID

This attack on Chappelle comes over a month after Chris Rock was slapped by Will Smith after making a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith while onstage at the 2022 Oscars.

One of ET's sources says that there are major concerns among the performers about how this could have happened, and it was shocking to learn that the attacker made it into the venue with the weapon and was also able to make it onstage and have unobstructed access to Chappelle.