Howie Mandel has a stark warning for comedy fans following the Dave Chapelle attack; he says we could be seeing “the end of comedy.”
The America’s Got Talent judge admitted this week that after 45 years of comedy, he would be very reluctant to return to standup as he fears for his safety.
Mandel was speaking in the wake of an attack on comedian Dave Chappelle by a member of the public at the Hollywood Bowl on May 3, which followed Will Smith’s infamous slap on Chris Rock at this year’s Academy Awards.
Howie Mandel says ‘violence triggers violence’ after Dave Chappelle attack
Yesterday, Mandel sat down with E! News when he said: “You saw what happened at the Academy Awards, and I thought that just triggers, violence triggers violence. And I think this is the beginning of the end for comedy.”
The 66-year-old funnyman expressed concern that the “floodgates” have been opened, which could lead to more attacks on standup comedians.
The Deal or No Deal star also said that the Chappelle incident realized his “worst fear come true” and that comedians already have to work in a challenging climate.
He said: “We’re already as comedians being attacked as far as being canceled for something that you don’t like, something that you find offensive, something that you think is too soon.”
Mandel also joked that he was a “wuss,” and if he found himself in a similar position to Rock or Chappelle, he wouldn’t try to fight his attacker but would make a run for it. He claimed to be more like Usain Bolt than Chappelle, joking: “I wouldn’t stand there. I wouldn’t fight back, and I would just run.”
Dave Chappelle attacked on stage at the Hollywood Bowl
On Tuesday night, a man rushed at Chappelle while he was performing his act. The individual was chased down by security and escorted off stage. The comedian was left uninjured, but the attacker was reportedly brought out on a stretcher, having received injuries to his arm and face.
Afterward, Chappelle joked that he had “stomped” on the attacker backstage, something he claimed he had wanted to do for 35 years. The comedian also joked that the attacker was a “trans man,” which later brought him criticism. He has courted controversy recently due to his comments about transgender men and women.
Chris Rock was also performing at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday night, and he took the opportunity to have a dig at Will Smith after the attack on Chappelle: “Was that Will Smith? he jokingly asked.