Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – A suit filed against comedian Dave Chappelle by a self-described prankster who made national news by throwing a banana peel at the comedian during a Santa Fe performance has been dismissed.
Christian Englander alleged in his 2018 complaint that Chappelle’s bodyguard, also named as a defendant, struck Englander in the face twice at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, where Chappelle appeared in 2015.
The suit also maintained that Chappelle had intimidated him while Englander and Chappelle were talking at Santa Fe Police Department headquarters after the performance – although a police report disputes some of Englander’s claims.
State District Court Judge Francis Mathew dismissed the suit April 24 pursuant to court rules because there had been “no significant activity in the case” for 180 days. The case was dismissed “without prejudice,” meaning that parties to the suit can move that it be reinstated within 30 days of the dismissal.
Englander filed the suit on his own without an attorney. No additional filings were entered by either Englander or Chappelle after the complaint was filed March 30, 2018, court records show.
Englander, a self-proclaimed jokester and performance artist, could not be reached for comment Tuesday at a phone number on his court documents.
Englander was charged with battery and disturbing the peace after the incident at the Lensic.
Englander, who is white, acknowledged throwing the peel from a banana he had eaten earlier, saying he took offense to jokes that Chappelle, who is black, made about his friend in the audience. He said the peel-tossing was misinterpreted as a racial attack.
“I thought the joker could take a joke,” Englander said just after the incident.
Prosecutors dismissed the charges against Englander, then 31, later in 2015, saying Chappelle had been “unresponsive” to inquiries about providing testimony. Englander was required to complete 22 hours of community service.
On Tuesday, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington announced that Chappelle is the 2019 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
“Dave is the embodiment of Mark Twain’s observation that ‘against the assault of humor, nothing can stand,’ ” Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter said in a statement. “For three decades, Dave has challenged us to see hot-button issues from his entirely original yet relatable perspective.”