Jack Whitehall says he got attacked on stage but security thought it was a joke

Olivia Colman accidentally insults Jack Whitehall on The Graham Norton Show
The Graham Norton Show/BBC

Jack Whitehall has revealed how an audience member attacked him on stage, while security thought it was all part of an elaborate gag.

The British comedian recalled the frightening story during an interview with Good Morning Britain where he was asked about the infamous moment from this year's Oscars where Will Smith got up on stage and slapped Chris Rock after he made a joke about the appearance of his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith.

"The only time anyone has ever actually got up on stage with me was quite scary," Whitehall said as he began to remember a similar experience.

"I was doing a Christmas show in Bournemouth and there was a large party in of industrial gardeners and they were heckling me quite badly. So I picked on one of them and he got up on stage and put me into a headlock."

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

"And the problem is when something like that happens, and you sort of saw it happen at the Oscars, most people think that it’s part of the show, so they don’t do anything.

"So I had a guy who was up on stage with me in a headlock, I felt quite vulnerable, but everyone was laughing in the room because they thought it was a bit, and then I caught out the corner of my eye the bouncers on the door, and they were laughing as well because they thought it was a set-up," Whitehall continued.

"So they wouldn’t have come up to my aid and that is slightly the problem with comedians, is when stuff goes wrong on stage, you always just assume that it’s part of a bit because no-one takes comedians seriously.

Like Rock, Whitehall has experience with high-profile hosting duties, presenting the Brit Awards for four years (2018-2021) and reflected on which celebrities he roasted during his tenure (but unlike Rock, he didn't receive any slaps from them).

"I always thought I pushed it quite far on the Brits, but maybe I didn't put it far enough. I didn't get Olly Murs to snap and come up onto the stage and slap me. I feel like it was a missed opportunity," he joked with hosts Susanna Reid and Ed Balls.

"I think hosts now going forward are definitely going to be checking themselves every time they write a joke for their monologues thinking that that’s happened."

"My piece of advice – and this is what I’ve always said in awards shows – is just be careful who you pick on," he added.

Though during his GMB appearance, Whitehall couldn't help but take a cheeky swipe at former presenter Piers Morgan, as he told Reid: "You’ll notice about me, Susanna, if ever I’m in a room, I always just throw Piers Morgan under the bus over and over again because I know that that’s a very safe target.

"Because there’s no way Piers would get up onto the stage quick enough to slap me, I would be able to run away in time."

To which Balls joked in response: "He wouldn’t walk on, Jack – he’d walk out," in reference to when Morgan famously stormed off the GMB set.

"Shots fired… I don’t want to get de-platformed and end up on TalkTV!” Whitehall added referring to Morgan's new job on the brand-new TV channel.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)