Dave Chappelle appeared as a surprise warm-up act at Chris Rock and Kevin Hart’s packed Madison Square Garden show Saturday night — where he riffed about “cancel culture” and his recent on-stage attacker.
The controversial comic, who was forced last week to move a Minneapolis show amid backlash, quipped that his LGBTQ-bashing jokes have made him such a pariah, “I had to sneak my way in here,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Dressed in a Nirvana T-shirt and smoking a cigarette during the brief opening set, Chappelle addressed an incident in which a 23-year-old bisexual rapper tackled him on stage with a weapon at LA’s Hollywood Bowl in May.
The under-fire funnyman said he hopes accused attacker Isaiah Lee gets monkeypox in jail —“not that he should die, but his ass should itch for four to six weeks.”
But Chappelle, 48, admitted that his previous wisecrack that Lee “was a trans man” following the kerfuffle had bombed, fueled negative media attention and “set up another two-day news cycle.” The cheap shot had been a reference to heat the comedian caught for “trans-phobic” jokes in his Netflix special.
Chappelle also ribbed his bodyguards for “wearing dress shoes on the job” during his May stand-up set, griping he would have been safer if they weren’t “sliding all over the place like at a bowling alley.”
Rock and Hart also poked fun of “cancel culture,” with Rock addressing the slap he was given by Will Smith at the Oscars.
“Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face,” Rock quipped, sparking roaring laughter.
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