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Area comedians react to Chapelle attack

There are a number of people in northeastern and central PA who work as standup comics, and they are understandably concerned.

DUNMORE, Pa. — Less than two months after the slap heard around the world at the Oscars, another comedian is making headlines because of an altercation.

Dave Chappelle was attacked onstage Tuesday night by a man who ran up and tackled him during a performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

The man was arrested; Chappelle was not injured.

"Normally, comedy is a risk. You take risks with some of your jokes. Sometimes they land great, and sometimes they don't," said Kevin Lepka, Scranton Comedy Club.

Kevin Lepka and Half & Half are comedians with the Scranton Comedy Club.

Lepka owns it and says security is always in place.

Both comedians agree that performers were targeted on stage long before the Smith and Rock incident; that moment just brought it to light.

"Patrons attacking comedians is nothing new. The slap heard around the world just made people want to do it, so maybe they can go viral for whatever reason," said Half & Half.

Both believe comedy shows are a way for people to escape the troubles around them.  

Sometimes jokes are taken the wrong way.  

Lepka says when that happens, violence is never the answer.

"If you are at a show and you don't agree with the comedian, and there's another one up, maybe leave the room for a little bit. I don't condone going up, doing violence to any of the comedians. It's very unfortunate that it's happening," said Lepka.

Newswatch 16 asked both comedians if they or others in the biz will censor jokes moving forward.  

They hope not.

"If you are worried about being attacked on stage or you are worried about censorship, what other people think. I think you are in the wrong business," said Half & Half. "You are going to hear stuff that you don't agree with, and I think it's healthy to have debates, and not everyone has the same views on everything."

Comedians say the show must go on. 

In fact, there's a show here at the Holiday Inn in Dunmore on May 14. 

Check out WNEP’s YouTube channel.