Mike Epps brought a kangaroo onstage that appeared to be in distress ... now many of Epps' fans are pissed, and some are even calling it animal abuse.
Epps performed Friday in Detroit at the Festival of Laughs comedy tour, when a man came out with a kangaroo on a leash. Epps egged on the handler to make the kangaroo partake in the show, and grabbed the leash, holding the animal for a photo.
The handler also carried the 'roo around as it appeared to attempt to run off the stage. Several ticket holders were infuriated, saying ... "They're trash for doing this," and describing the scene as "violence" and "animal abuse."
The handler is Javon Stacks, who went viral last week for walking around Detroit with a kangaroo on a leash. He told MLive.com it's part of a travelling exotic zoo, and claimed to have the proper licenses.
We checked, and it's illegal to own a kangaroo in Detroit, but a rep for city Animal Control tells TMZ ... because the animal appears to be from out of town, it would be up to state and federal authorities to decide if a crime had occurred.
Stacks told us 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.
After the show, Epps posted a backstage video of himself with a different kangaroo which makes it seem like he anticipated backlash. He captioned the clip, "Yeh look how nice Iam 2 him! Theses guys are license zoo keepers ! #iloveanimals." He later deleted the post.
We reached out to Epps' rep ... so far no word back.