The left and journalists alike have pounded Dave Chappelle for telling the wrong kind of jokes. The furor didn’t start with The Closer, the comedian’s most recent Netflix special, but it picked up sizable momentum following its Oct. 5, 2021 release.
Long story short: Chappelle yukked about the trans community in ways said community, and its “allies,” didn’t like.
Did we just see the natural results of that ensuing rage?
A man attending Chappelle’s May 3 appearance at The Hollywood Bowl rushed the stage, weapon in hand, and attacked the comedian. Chappelle wasn’t hurt, and the Netflix Is a Joke Festival tour carried on after security found, and apparently, pummeled the attacker.
The assailant is now in custody.
Spokespeople from the LAPD confirm to PEOPLE that the suspect, identified as Isaiah Lee, 23, has been charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon. One LAPD spokesperson says the weapon was “a replica handgun with a knife,” describing it as a “replica handgun-slash-knife.”
Ironically, Chris Rock had performed earlier in the evening. Will Smith infamously slapped Rock during the March 27 Oscars ceremony after the Saturday Night Live alum told a joke about Smith’s wife.
Physically attacking comedians isn’t a pattern. Yet. It’s still alarming to see similar events so close to each other. If you’re a comedian the logical question is clear: “Am I next?”
Here’s the larger picture.
Famous comedians will start bolstering their security teams in the wake of the Chappelle attack. That kind of measure is a breeze for the Joe Rogans and Tim Dillons of the world, stars who have enough money to defend themselves in a professional fashion.
The story itself could fizzle out in record time.
The media will either lean into the Chappelle attack or quickly move on to other topics. It depends what we learn about the assailant and his background. If Isaiah Lee leans to the right that background will be amplified and reporters will extend the story’s life.
Should Lee be a progressive radical, his name will swiftly disappear from news headlines.
Sound cynical? Just remember how quickly the media moved on from recent mass casualties caused by black racists, and you’ll see the pattern in play.
The fallout elsewhere will be subtle but more insidious. Comedians already self censor for fear of offending the woke mob. Desus & Mero, the Showtime power duo, admitted just that even though they align almost perfectly with the progressive narrative.
Others do so out of fear, and understandably so. A Chappelle or Bill Burr can survive if they never told another joke again, in theory, given their ample income. A blue-collar comic can’t say the same.
Now, comedians have to worry about more than Cancel Culture. What if the wrong joke upsets the wrong comedy club patron, and he or she decides to rush the stage in response?
It may be wiser to avoid jokes that push boundaries than put oneself at risk.
Once again, the comedy world has suffered a sizable blow.
[Cross-posted from Hollywood in Toto]