Kevin Hart is sounding off on the attack on Dave Chappelle at the Hollywood Bowl this week. In an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that left fill-in host Mike Birbiglia scratching his head, Hart insisted that the incident "needed to happen" to "send a message" to critics who might be thinking about accosting comedians onstage.
Unlike Birbiglia, Hart believes the attack, during which a man rushed the stage at the Hollywood Bowl and tackled Chappelle, was "not scary," given how the situation was resolved. "Somebody ran on stage and got their ass whooped," he said. "It's not scary. It's one of those things that needed to happen, though."
The guest host vehemently disagreed, but Hart attempted to clarify. "Mike, do you want people to continue to think that they can cross that line and break the barrier of entertainer and —" he said. "Somebody getting their ass whipped sends a message out to the other people that were like, 'You know, I was thinking about doing that, but after seeing that I don't really wanna do that.'"
Hart went on to say that "there's a lot of lines that have gotten blurred," and the incident is "fogging up a bigger moment" for Chappelle, who made history with his run at the Hollywood Bowl. "He quickly moved on from it and got back to doing comedy. That's what a professional does," Hart said of Chappelle. "Ultimately, these moments of improfessionalism [sic] should not break professionals. They shouldn't shape or mold the world that we're now being seen or viewed in. So, I think it's time to get back to a place of respect for your live entertainer."
Jimmy Kimmel Live! airs weeknights at 11:35 PM ET on ABC. Jimmy Kimmel is currently sidelined with COVID, and Birbiglia will continue to fill in as host until he returns.
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.