POP Culture

10 Celebrities That Have Been Arrested at Their Own Performance

We all love rock concerts and stand-up comedy; going to live shows gives us a certain excitement that watching them from home can’t compare. And celebrities have always fascinated the general public. Their extreme politics, personality, or behavior has often gotten them into trouble. Sometimes the entertainer or the police take their job too seriously. Seriously, in fact, the musician or comedian is taken from the stage in the middle of their act and taken to jail. It happens more often than you imagine. Here are ten times a celebrity was arrested for her performance.

Related: 10 Crazy Arrests Of Adult Movie Stars

10 marty wayne 1946

In 1946, Marty Wayne was an up-and-coming comedian with a penchant for bawdy jokes and pantomime. While performing in Philadelphia, Wayne was arrested. At the time, the newspaper did not want to cite the police; They reported that he was arrested “for his purple passages,” which would most likely be considered minor by today’s standards. The owners of the place were fined and Wayne spent six months in prison.

Wayne’s career never really took off after his release. However, Wayne may well have been the inspiration for other, more famous entries on our list. Obscenity laws were stricter and more plentiful in Wayne’s day. Chances are, he would have had a longer and more successful career had he lived in modern times, much to the chagrin of comedy fans everywhere.[1]

9 Marilyn Manson (2001)

While Manson was not arrested during the show, he was arrested immediately after a 2001 performance in Michigan. Supposedly, while onstage, Manson rubbed his knickknacks on the head of a security guard. Manson recalled the incident at a 2013 show in Detroit. He claimed that he was about to go to jail for having sex with a man’s head, an embellished version of the event. Officially, Manson was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery for spitting on the head of security officer Joshua Keasler and felony sexual misconduct for wrapping his legs around Keasler and “grinding” him.

According to prosecutor David Gorcyca, “These acts are sexual and physical assaults against an unsuspecting individual whose job it was to protect the artists.” Ultimately, he dropped the felony charge, but the misdemeanor charge remained. Manson seemed unaffected by the incident in all possible ways.[2]

8 Richard Pryor 1974

1974 was a big year for Richard Pryor, hot saddles premiered, which he co-wrote, and was arrested following a live performance in Richmond, Virginia. By the mid-1970s, laws regarding obscenities were struck down in most of the country, leading some to believe that there was racial bias in the arrest. According to the historian of comedy Kliph Nesteroff, “All the words that are in hot saddles are the same words he was arrested for saying on stage.”

Whether that’s the case or not, Pryor was arrested for violating an “obscene language” ordinance. The local newspaper quoted police as saying: “He was repeatedly told to clean up the act of him.” The comedian used unapproved language in jokes about him, one of which directed her to the Richmond Police Department. He was released on $500 bail and was later forced to attend a hearing on the matter. Pryor never “cleaned up his act.” In 2006, he was the first honoree of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor presented at the Kennedy Center Honors, a distinctive honor for someone arrested for his sense of humor.[3]

7 Janis Joplin 1969

As the first queen of rock ‘n’ roll, it’s not necessarily surprising that Janis Joplin has spent a few nights in jail. The circumstances of this particular arrest, however, are classic Janis. On November 16, 1969, BB King opened for her at Curtis Hixon Hall in Tampa, Florida. The crowd of approximately 3,500 people was losing their minds when she took the stage. They ran down the aisles to the stage and stood on top of each other to get a better view. She was doing a slow, bluesy version of “Summertime” as the police tried to escort people back to her seats.

Things got heated between the crowd and the police, and Joplin took notice. He allegedly yelled “Don’t fuck with those people” into the microphone. His comment was enough to provoke the sergeant. Ed Williams to obtain a warrant for Joplin’s arrest due to his “vulgar and indecent language.” Joplin continued to antagonize the Tampa police throughout her set, and by midnight, she was behind bars. She was released on bail within hours and continued to perform with equal vigor until she died at the age of 27.[4]

6 Jorge Carlin 1972

George Carlin had an outstanding comic career that spanned over fifty years. Carlin was known for his vulgar but good jokes and had multiple run-ins with the law in his early days.

He has appeared in dozens of movies and television shows and countless live performances. Most memorable was the part of her “Seven words you can’t say.” While performing that act at the 1972 Milwaukee Summerfest, Carlin was arrested for “blasphemy,” despite obscenity laws being struck down nationwide in the early 1970s. Officially charged with disorderly conduct, the charges were eventually dropped and the judge ruled in favor of Carlin’s first amendment free speech rights. Carlin later commented that he had the last laugh on the subject. The arrest gave the comedian publicity he simply couldn’t buy and had a significant impact on his career.[5]

5 bobby brown 1989

After a Beastie Boys concert in 1987, the people of Columbus, Ohio passed an anti-lewd ordinance. In early 1989, R&B star Bobby Brown broke that ordinance during a live performance, to no one’s surprise. “My Prerogative” had just been released, and there was no way Brown wouldn’t live up to the song’s name. He brought a woman from the crowd onstage with him during a performance of the popular song and “mock sex” with her, according to Columbus police.

Brown left the stage for a break around 8:30 p.m. when the head of security for the auditorium arrested him. He was taken to the county jail and booked. However, he was able to pay a $652 fine and was released. Brown was only offstage for about 90 minutes before coming back and finishing the show.[6]

4 axl rose 1987

Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose has had his fair share of run-ins with the law throughout his storied career. In 1991, he allegedly forced the crowd to riot during a show in St. Louis. Rose was arrested after the fact and stood trial for her role in the Riverport Amphitheater riot. Years before that, he had been arrested during another show.

In 1987, GNR was on tour with their debut album, appetite for destruction. The band arrived in Atlanta at the end of November; her performance was scheduled for the 22nd. Rose allegedly punched a black police officer in the face and she was arrested. The police stated that she could be released if she apologized to the officer, but Rose responded to this offer in her own way. She refused to apologize, saying, “Fuck you!” to the policemen he was arrested for physical assault during the band’s performance.[7]

3 Jim Morrison1967

In December 1967, while performing in New Haven, Connecticut, Doors frontman Jim Morrison became the first rock star to be arrested mid-performance. The incident became famous after being written up in countless newspapers and magazines and even featured in the 1991 Oliver Stone biopic. The doors. As the story goes, Morrison was “making out” with a girl backstage before the show. The two were interrupted by a police officer who ordered the couple to leave. Morrison, of course, refused, and was consequently hit with a mace by the officer. Shortly after that, the officer was informed that his victim was, in fact, the ultra-famous singer Jim Morrison.

Later, during a performance of “Back Door Man”, Morrison improvised altered lyrics to recount the events to the audience. He then chanted derogatory slurs at the police, and that was literally the full stop. The police came on stage, stopped the performance, and arrested Morrison. He was charged with inciting a riot, indecency and public obscenity. However, this would not be his first arrest. In 1969, he was arrested for lewd and lewd behavior, indecent exposure, profanity, and drunkenness a few days after a concert in Miami, Florida.[8]

2 lenny bruce 1961-1964

Lenny Bruce is arguably the most revered name in stand-up comedy; his wit, charm and jokes were ahead of his time. He believed in himself and his ability to make people laugh, regardless of whether the authorities thought he was funny or not. He is responsible for bringing first amendment rights to his office, paving the way for others like George Carlin and Richard Pryor. Bruce was arrested many times for obscene and vulgar language throughout his career.

The first time was in 1961 in San Francisco. This time, the police waited until after his set. However, on December 4, 1962, Bruce was performing at Chicago’s Gates of Horn Club when he made several jokes that contained what was considered obscene. Phrases like “fool” or “son of a bitch” came out of his mouth too many times, and the police stopped the show and took him to jail.

For five years, Bruce appeared in court in various states for his act. He was convicted of the Chicago charges and sentenced to four months in jail. Comedy clubs across the country blacklisted him after his conviction. He spent years going through the appeals process, but died of a drug overdose before he could complete himself. He won his appeal posthumously and was pardoned. In 2003, Governor George Pataki of New York pardoned Bruce, calling the state’s first posthumous pardon “a statement of New York’s commitment to upholding the First Amendment.”[9]

1 david chappelle 2022

Dave Chappelle was never arrested during one of his shows. Quite the opposite. For our latest entry, we are turning the tables. On May 3, 2022, Dave was in the middle of the Netflix It’s A Joke festival when an audience member at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles attacked him. Later identified as Isaiah Lee, the attacker jumped onto the stage and pushed Chappelle (who was not a small man) to the ground. The incident occurred as Chappelle was trying to walk offstage for a mid-set break. Police quickly subdued Lee and he suffered “minor injuries.” He was taken to the hospital to treat his injuries and be evaluated for mental illness. Lee was later charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon.

Police say Lee was found with a replica pistol that produces a knife blade when fired. Chappelle is one of the best comedians of the last decade and has become a household name. His brand of comedy has offended a lot of people over the years. There are many reasons why someone might take offense at his act, and this wasn’t the only time he was assaulted on stage. According to TMZ, he was once the victim of a racial assault when an audience member threw a banana peel at him during a show in New Mexico. Despite all of this, Chappelle has remained at the top of his industry as he gives back to his community.[10]

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