Former NFL defensive end Marcellus Wiley said he witnessed the “crazy” attack on comedian Dave Chappelle that occurred Tuesday night during Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
“Yea, I was in the building man, and it was crazy to be there,” Wiley told TMZ. “Lot of stars in the building, but the moment it occurred is crazy ’cause it was time to leave. Dave was leaving the stage and coming back for an encore.”
The incident occurred towards the end of Chappelle’s performance, when a man identified as 23-year-old Isaiah Lee rushed the stage and tackled the 48-year-old comedian to the ground. Lee had a “knife blade” and “replica handgun” during the attack, and is in custody.
“Now, I’m gonna say he missed his moment, too, because he missed that tackle,” said Wiley, a second-round draft pick, who played 10 NFL seasons with the Bills, Cowboys, Chargers, and Jaguars. “As a former football player, he could have got a lot cleaner hit, but he’s not a former linebacker. But, he tackled Dave, and then next thing you know, the dude gets up, takes off running thinking he Barry Sanders.
“And boy, that’s when security started working. About 50 people — including Dave, Jamie Foxx — you just saw everyone just bum rush this dude in the corner right in the back. It took about three-to-five minutes to finally get the dude out of there. It was a lot of elbows, a lot of stomping, and a lot of people who were upset at that moment.”
Wiley, who is an analyst for Fox Sports, could not believe what happened next.
“The craziest moment was actually funny; it’s when Chris [Rock] ran back on stage and grabbed the mic and was like, ‘Was that Will Smith?’” he said. “In the moment I was like, ‘Yo, that’s crazy.’ Then I was like ‘Yo, that’s some Will Smith stuff.’”
Last month, Smith slapped and yelled at Rock on the 2022 Oscars stage, and was later banned from the awards show by the Academy for 10 years.
“Y’all foos better stay off the stage and take these jokes or it won’t be a laughing matter,” Wiley wrote on Instagram. “I was there (Tuesday) night and dude became the ultimate deterrent when he got stomped. 👏🏿 No more standing ovations and applause or sympathy when you’re doing something ignant like (Will Smith) did at the Oscars. And please keep the real and raw jokes coming (Dave Chappelle).
A representative for Chappelle released a statement to CNN, saying, “As unfortunate and unsettling as the incident was, Chappelle went on with the show. Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock helped calm the crowd with humor before Chappelle introduced the last and featured musical guests for the evening.”
Lee, who is charged with assault with a deadly weapon over the attack, was hospitalized briefly for injuries he sustained during the incident. He was later booked into jail on $30,000 bail, police said.