Comedian Mike Epps is used to fans laughing and cheering during his standup act, but he was met with a lot more than that during a Detroit performance on Friday when he was joined onstage by a live kangaroo on a leash.
According to TMZ, “Epps egged on the handler to make the kangaroo partake in the show, and grabbed the leash, holding the animal for a photo,” adding that “the handler also carried the ‘roo around as it appeared to attempt to run off the stage.”
TMZ reports that several members of the audience were furious at the spectacle, describing what took place as “violence” and “animal abuse,” with one audience member saying: “They’re trash for doing this.”
The handler, reports TMZ, is Javon Stacks, the subject of a viral video last week when he was filmed walking around Detroit with a kangaroo on a leash. In an interview with MLive.com, Stacks claimed that the kangaroo is part of his travelling Exotic Zoo, and claimed he had all the necessary licenses.
However, TMZ did some digging and found out that it’s illegal to own a kangaroo in Detroit.
Stacks told TMZ the kangaroo was “not harmed in any way Friday night, and the harness he used is not only legal — but preferable to a collar which could hurt the animal.”
Following the show, Epps posted a video on social media taken backstage, posing with a different kangaroo, along with the caption: “Yeh look how nice Iam 2 him! Theses guys are license zoo keepers ! #iloveanimals.” Epps later deleted the post.
Epps took to Instagram once again on Sunday to apologize for the incident.
“I am sorry and like I said I will be donating money to this foundation to save the kangaroos,” he wrote in the caption of the post. Epps uploaded a photo of the Viva trademark, the brand associated with protecting animals. “Sorry if I offended anybody I love animals since I was a kid I had dogs my whole life,” he explained in the post.
Look I wanna sincerely apologize to everybody ,I don't own the kangaroo and did not mean any harm to the animal it got outta hand and Iam sorry !and like I said I will be donating money to this foundation save the kangaroos ! Sorry if I offedend anybody I love animals sense I was a kid I had dogs my whole life !!#imadeabadmistake I keep taking down my post because of the back lash Iam getting!! thank you for forgiveness !!