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South Florida comedians react to attack on Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle
Posted at 4:49 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 18:36:52-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — South Florida comedians are reacting Wednesday after Dave Chappelle was attacked by a spectator on stage Tuesday at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

Video captured the moment a spectator rushed the stage and tackled Chappelle.

For some local comedians, it came as a shock. For others, they felt it was inevitable.

"I just couldn’t believe they got through security. Cause you know I am sure, security has been amped up after the whole Will Smith thing," said South Florida comedian Giavanni Neal.

"Here we go again. As I mentioned before, Will Smith did it, so now people think that if a big celebrity did it they can now do it," said local comedian Jordan Garnett.

The encounter took place right as Chappelle was wrapping up his set. Witnesses reported the man was then kicked and punched repeatedly by security guards.

The suspect has been identified as Isaiah Lee, 23. Authorities said he was carrying a knife blade and replica handgun, and has been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.

"If you don’t like a comedian and you feel like they are in the wrong with the message they’re putting out there, put out an even louder message of what your truth is. But do it with your own creativity and talent the same way comedians use their talent," said South Florida comedian Brian Drolet.

WPTV reached out to venues around our area who have comedians perform to learn more about their security measures, but only the Kravis Center got back to us with a statement that read, "The Kravis Center takes the safety of its patrons and its artists seriously. We have robust security protocols in place, including a security consultant who we work with on an annual basis."

"I am not saying I'm walking around here worried like someone is going to attack me. But initially, I did have that fear because I vocalize myself online and people, before I was a comedian even, people would kind of make veiled threats and stuff like that. So you don’t want that to happen," Neal said. "But in a country where we’re allowed to have free speech, that could be a repercussion from speaking your mind."

"We got to do something about it. I think comedians need to stand up for ourselves," Garnett said.