Daily Show’s Roy Wood Jr. Has Advice for Comedy Clubs In Wake Of Dave Chappelle Attack

“Somebody running up on Chappelle, it’s a little bit more concerning than Will Smith and Chris Rock,” comedian says

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah correspondent, Roy Wood Jr., has an idea to limit the attacks on comedians in wake of the current repeated acts of violence. 

“There is no new attack on comedians on stage. There’s attacks on famous comedians, but in my 24 years of comedy, once or twice a year there’s a story of some random drunk person wanting to fight a comedian on stage, but it happens in nothing towns to comedians who don’t have a deep resume,” Wood told Los Angeles. “It’s not something that will ever make the news, but in terms of being on stage and being hyper-aware, especially if you’re an opinionated comedian, you kind of need to keep your head on a swivel.” 

In case you missed it, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock across the face during the 94th Academy Awards broadcast for telling a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. One month later, Dave Chappelle was also in the face of danger when an armed man stormed the stage at the Hollywood Bowl after he was “triggered” by the comedian’s jokes regarding the LGBTQ+ community. According to Wood, one is more of a concern than the other.

Somebody running up on Chappelle, it’s a little bit more concerning than Will Smith and Chris Rock. Will Smith and Chris Rock were two rich people having an argument in a very inopportune place

“Someone told me a long time ago that as a comedian, your performance starts from the time you arrive at the venue to the time you are back in your hotel room. You can easily get attacked after the show, or before the show. There’s random people in the greenroom sometimes. That happens a lot of comedy clubs. I think it’s messed up,” he said.

Wood Jr. went on to speculate on what he sees as a good solution so everyone is satisfied.

“I think what will eventually happen because we have all of this political division, is that people will finally seek out the comedians that they like and go see them, and you’ll have a lot less of this random idiotocracy that’s happening at comedy clubs,” correspondent added.

“Because in my opinion, a lot of it boils down to comedy clubs selling comedy and not the specific comedians. People show up and they hear something they don’t like and they want to fight and that’s been going on for decades at the club level.” 

In a world full of chaos and a country in a deep divide, Wood is thankful for his position at The Daily Show, and for his boss who ensures the staff take the time they need to heal from the news cycle. 

“I tip my hat to Trevor Noah for making sure the staff has enough time off and is able to manage a little bit better, and not have a lot of headaches. Stress management is important, but also, I think the bigger thing is, we’ve been able to adjust a little bit because the news cycle moves faster than people can heal,” Wood said.

According to Wood Jr., Daily Show‘s strategic approach to comedy right now seems to resonate with viewers for specific reasons.

“What we’ve tried to do is make sure that you’re not making jokes about the tragedy. The jokes come on the solution of said tragedy. I think when you’re in that realm, it’s easier to create humor, and we’ve been able to do that, but at the end of the day, to find jokes on terrible things, you have to absorb a lot of bad news, you have to take in a lot of terrible stuff. You can’t make the jokes until you know the full causation”

Chappelle, that truly was a random guy, and the dude bought a ticket. I perform at events full of random people with a clear beeline that they can make it to the stage…But this idea that it’s worse now, or I’m more concerned now, it’s not a deep concern, it’s a concern that has always been there.

“We do read a lot of horrible stuff, we do take in a lot of stuff and a lot of times it doesn’t even make it to air. That part of it is a little stressful, but we’ve figured out a way of understanding the news cycle and what to make a joke about and when to make the joke, and making sure we give ourselves grace to give ourselves a break, to have a few days off, to have a breather, sometimes we’ll do a show that is completely nothingness, which is by design,” he added.

“There’s a lot of crazy news in the world that’ll be there tomorrow, but today I’m going to put on a glued-on mustache and talk about black history facts as a pretend 60-year-old man. That is a break. It’s not only a break for us as a staff, but also for the viewer. You don’t want to absorb all of this.” 

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah airs on Comedy Central. 

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