All comedians have to learn to handle a heckler or two—emboldening critics is often just another day on the job. But getting punched in the face before even stepping onstage to perform? That’s one for the books for anyone, even in a post-Slap era.
Unfortunately, a pre-set attack was exactly the plight Saturday Night Live alum Chris Redd faced at Manhattan comedy venue the Comedy Cellar on Wednesday night, when an unknown assailant struck him across the face ahead.
Per an initial police investigation obtained by New York’s ABC7 Eyewitness News, Redd was exiting his vehicle around 9:40 PMET on Wednesday night when an unknown assailant charged him. The attacker (who was reportedly disguised as a security guard) punched Redd in the face before fleeing the scene.
After the incident, Redd was reportedly transported to Bellevue Hospital with a profusely bleeding nose. No arrests have been made yet in the altercation, although the perpetrator has been described as wearing a “blue ‘security’ jacket, black pants, black gray and white sneakers and a bucket hat.” It’s still not exactly clear what spurned the assault on Redd, and the attacker still hasn’t been identified.
Regardless of motive, this isn’t the first incident of onstage violence against comedians this year. At the Netflix Is A Joke Festival in May, Dave Chappelle was attacked onstage at the end of his set. After the attacker, Isaiah Lee, was apprehended, the LAPD confirmed he had been in possession of a weapon that could “eject a knife.”
In comparison to Redd, Chappelle’s stand up has become rightfully maligned in recent years, due to the comedian’s extensive exploration of blatantly transphobic content. But even from an activism standpoint, it’s hard to argue that clocking your evening’s entertainment in the jaw before or during their time onstage is the most restorative way to express dissent.