Why Is Dave Chappelle's Stand-Up Not Included In Netflix's Upcoming Comedy Specials?

Zinger Key Points
  • Chappelle was uninjured in the May 3 assault.
  • Chappelle's attorney was furious that his assailant is not being charged with a felony.

Netflix Inc NFLX will not include Dave Chappelle’s segment in the streaming version of its recent comedy festival, but the exclusion is not based on the assault that occurred while Chappelle was in performance.

What Happened: Chappelle was doing his stand-up act during "Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival" at the Hollywood Bowl on the evening of May 3 when he was attacked on the stage by Isaiah Lee, who reportedly carried a replica handgun embedded with a knife blade. Chappelle was not injured and Lee was detained by the venue’s security and fellow comedian Jamie Foxx before the police arrived to take Lee into custody.

But even if Lee did not disrupt Chappelle’s act, the comedian was never scheduled to be part of the streaming version of the comedy festival. According to Hollywood Reporter coverage, Chappelle arranged for his own cameras to film his stand-up segment for a separate production; Whether he plans to make the footage of the attack public is uncertain.

"Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival" consisted of 336 comics performing 288 shows in 35 Los Angeles venues, and then harvested material for a series of specials to be streamed in May and June. Chappelle is slated to appear in the May 19 special “The Hall: Honoring the Greats of Stand-Up,” where he will offer a tribute to Richard Pryor.

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What Else Happened: Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón declined to charge Lee with a felony, a decision that sparked outrage from Chappelle’s lawyer, Gabriel Colwell.

“It’s a travesty of justice that DA Gascòn is refusing to prosecute this case as a felony,” said Colwell in an interview with the New York Post. “The City Attorney, who filed the case, is doing his job but DA Gascón should also do his job and charge this as a felony.”

Colwell, a partner at Squire Patton Boggs, added, “Entertainers in L.A. need to know this is a justice system that will protect them. There is no question here that when someone is violently assaulted by another in possession of a deadly weapon that it should be charged as a felony.”

Photo of Dave Chappelle courtesy of Netflix

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