POLL QUESTION: Can't we just laugh anymore?


Isaiah Lee, the 23 year old homeless vagrant charged with four misdemeanors after charging comedian Dave Chappelle during a stand-up routine at the Hollywood Bowl last Tuesday, is still behind bars.

Chappelle had responded with a tweet late last week saying, “Nobody’s safe.”

Comic Damon Williams said the same thing happened to him in Chicago more than 20 years ago, and comic Heather McDonald says rushing a comic onstage has happened several times since the Will Smith slapping of comic Chris Rock during the Oscars telecast.

Comedy is not for the faint of heart.

At a Canadian festival in 1991 a British comic made fun of Canadians for allowed French to be spoken in their country and a man rushed the stage and knocked him out cold.

In 2007 comic Jim Jeffries was attacked onstage for making fun of a man’s lineage.

After the Will Smith incident, controversial female stand-up comic Kathy Griffin said all comics will be wondering if they will be the next Chris Rock.

No, Dave Chappelle was. And he was curious what set off the man who attacked him right after he talked about the controversy over remarks he had made about transgender people, so he asked police if he could talk to Lee before he was hauled off to jail.

The disturbed man, his face bloodied and his arm hurt by security, said he wanted to bring attention to gentrification in his grandmother’s Brooklyn neighborhood.

The purpose of comedy, suggests Ricky Gervais, is to provoke. “We use comedy as a sword, and a medicine. We use comedy to break the ice, ‘are you like-minded? What can you take? What do you like?’ And I’ve always pushed the boundary a little bit to try and make people laugh at things they didn’t think they could.”

He followed that up with a joke.

“Why did the little girl fall off the swing? Because she didn’t have any arms.”

The audience laughed.

Safety concerns were heightened when it was discovered Isaiah Lee had a replica gun with an attached knife in his backpack, and the potential for violence made everyone a little more self-conscious. As Bruce Lee, George Carlin, Richard Pryor and so many other comics of the past century have known, if you’re not making them squirm a bit, you’re not hitting the mark.

Isaiah Lee is still being held on $30,000 bond.

That leads to our poll question.


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