Howie Mandel Reacts to Dave Chappelle Attack, Says He’s Afraid
Comedian Howie Mandel is reacting to news that Dave Chappelle was attacked onstage during his “Netflix Is a Joke Presents: Dave Chappelle and Friends” performance at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday night.
“Extra’s” Billy Bush caught up with Howie, who stars on the Netflix show “Bullsh*t: The Game Show,” and he revealed he will tour less now after the violent incident.
Howie said, “That hit... no pun intended… that hit very deeply.” He added, “My biggest fear 40 years ago was not getting a laugh, and then cancel culture came along and then it was like, ‘Oh, my God if somebody doesn't like your joke or you overstepped your line you could lose your career,’ and then after the Academy Awards… I said... ‘Violence triggers violence.’”
Reflecting on the moment when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars over a Jada Pinkett Smith joke, Howie continued, “This is one step that kind of opens a door and triggers somebody if they don't like what you’re saying or they're offended by what you're saying… It's kind of okay because it's been done, to be violent, and that's what my fear was.”
Circling back to Chappelle, he said, “Watching what happened to Dave last night confirmed my fear. I was watching it kind of live on Twitter and I turned to my wife and I said, ‘I don't want to. I don't want to goon stage. I'm just really afraid.’”
Billy asked what Howie planned to do about touring, and the star replied, “The love of what we do is fading… joking now has no safety net.”
He went on, “I'm actually going to do less because the love is not as fervent as it was, you know... six months ago. Because fear overtakes... and I'm a guy who, you know, lives with worry anyway... I've been open about my mental health. I am neurotic. I suffer from depression.”
Howie revealed, “The night after the Academy Awards I didn't sleep for two nights and, you know, I really didn't, and it hit me at the core, no pun intended, and then when I watched what happened last night… We're just trying to make people smile, we're just trying to make people laugh — this is the opposite of violence, and it just… I don't have words.”
For him, it boils down to mental health. “My soapbox is mental health… This is about people not getting the help they need… Anybody who is jumping onstage hitting somebody… anybody who is violent, I promise there are red flags before that moment, and those red flags are not being taken care of.”