After a string of recent onstage attacks, performers are beginning to take actions to prevent future incidents.
According to reports, British comedian Ricky Gervais, 61, has bolstered his security detail to protect him from potential attackers. A source told the Sun, “Ricky isn’t taking any chances. He has employed his own security guards for the gigs so he can have a laugh and relax in the knowledge that he’s safe.”
“He hasn’t wasted any expense. They’re the real deal and are positioned in the aisles and around the stage, keeping a close eye on audience members,” the source added. “The venue is also doing a lot for general safety as audience members are to be searched before entry and no glasses or bottles are to be served by the venue. It seems like everyone is taking precautions. It’s necessary in these times.”
Multiple celebrities have faced onstage assaults in recent months. Author Salman Rushdie, 75, was stabbed up to 15 times earlier this month while preparing to give a talk in upstate New York. In May, comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked onstage by a man wielding a knife disguised as a gun during a performance in Los Angeles. And superstar actor Will Smith was banned for a decade from attending the Oscars after slapping comedian Chris Rock during this year’s ceremony.
Gervais, known for his irreverent takes on modern culture, has drawn detractors for setting his comedic sights on their sacred cows. LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD called Gervais’ recent Netflix stand-up special “SuperNature” “dangerous,” saying that it consists of “anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes.”
The creator of “The Office” has taken the criticism in stride. “It was a big backlash,” Gervais said regarding the controversy over “SuperNature.” “Everyone was really cross with me, with people saying you can’t say that — but I can, I did. Yes, I did.”
Gervais is currently performing a series of shows at London’s Leicester Square Theatre as he prepares new material. “The new show is going to be called ‘Armageddon,’” Gervais told a recent audience at Leicester Square Theatre. “It’s going to be about how I think humanity will end — whether we will evolve, go to another planet, or we destroy it with things at our disposal.
At this time, neither Gervais nor his representatives have responded to media requests for comment on the recent reports.