On Tuesday night, a star-studded comedy festival was, like this year’s Oscars, upstaged by an out-of-nowhere attack. At the end of his set at this year’s Netflix is a Joke: The Festival, Dave Chappelle — a comic who’s no stranger to riling people up — was attacked on-stage by a man later revealed to be a rapper, who was then beaten by security and reportedly Busta Rhymes, too. Both Chappelle and Netflix have since released statements, claiming his “epic and record-breaking” set should not be upstaged by a moment of violence. But as per Vanity Fair, the night was kind of all-over-the-place.
In a report about the rest of the fest’s night, which took place at the Hollywood Bowl, the publication deemed it “tonally strange — an incongruous event that at times felt more like a rally than a comedy show.” There were lots of comedians, including Michelle Wolf, Jimmy Carr, and Chris Rock, who slipped in a decent off-the-cuff joke about his own on-stage attack at this year’s Oscars.
But not all of the comics decided to only be funny. Jon Stewart, Vanity Fair reported, seemed “evidently less concerned with telling jokes on Tuesday and and more concerned with railing against the government, continually returning to recent news regarding the leaked SCOTUS draft that would overturn Roe v. Wade.” Though there were jokes about the Russian invasion, there was an “emotional tirade” about crumbling American democracy and some material that seemed “pff-the cuff and not fully formed,” and also “didn’t seem to land with the pro-Chappelle audience.”
There was also dancing. And music. When it seemed like Chappelle’s set may finally start, the crowd got something else:
They were in for another surprise when dance group The Jabbawockeez flooded the stage and performed choreographed dances to six different songs. The night got increasingly absurd, when they were followed not by Chappelle, but a rap group called Coast Contra that performed a few unintelligible and unknown songs for the crowd. By this point, it felt like the powers that be were stalling, and the audience, cell phone-less, seemed to be growing impatient.