8 Times Comedians Were Attacked During A Set
When thinking of stand up comedy, usually a dimly lit, laughter-filled room with a spotlit stage bearing someone telling off brand yet hilarious jokes comes to mind. Until recently, you probably didn’t think of violence. In light of recent events, including the Oscar’s slap heard round the world and Dave Chappelle stomping out an aggressive show goer, it almost seems to be on trend to approach the stage during a comedian’s set. We all know, at a comedy show, performers push boundaries in the name of humor, but not everyone shares that sense of humility. Heckling isn’t unheard of, but every now and then, a member of the audience starts “feeling froggy” and things take a hard turn.
By definition, a heckler is a person who interrupts a performer or public speaker with derisive or aggressive comments or abuse. Now, we can keep it real and admit sometimes comedians are really bombing their set, and it’s a profession meant for the thick-skinned, but how far is too far? Was Chris Rock deserving of physical assault for his G.I. Jane joke, referring to Jada Pinkett’s Alopecia? Will Dave Chappelle’s giving his attacker the Mr. Potato Head special deter folks from running up on comedians in the future? Well, while these events may be the topic of discussion and have our eyes wide open, it’s not as uncommon as you may think.
In fact, an article from France24 recounts an occurrence in 1991 at the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival where infamously offensive British comedian Jerry Sadowitz opened his set with the line: “Hello Moosefuckers. I tell you why I hate Canada: half of you speak French and the other half let them.” An audience member made his way up the stage, and knocked him out cold.
Chris Rock’s run into Will Smith’s palm triggered many a comedian to hit the internet sharing their qualms over the unexpected incident. Late night talk show host Stephen Colbert was one celeb who wasn’t feeling the public assault, saying
“Let me say something as an objective observer: It’s never OK to punch a comedian,”
Just when we were finally getting past the buzz of the 2022 Oscars, here comes a disgruntled heckler attacking Dave Chappelle.
However, he didn’t make it off the stage in the same shape as he approached.
See more instances where hecklers thought it was a good idea to attack comedians during their stand up comedy show.