Hours before Dave Chappelle was set to perform at First Avenue, the show was cancelled due to outrage of his remarks on transgender people.
Dave Chappelle might have landed an Emmy nomination for his controversial Netflix special The Closer, but residents of Minneapolis aren’t laughing. Hours before the comedian was set to perform at coveted venue First Avenue on Wednesday (July 20), Chappelle’s gig was cancelled by management after LGBTQ+ advocates protested the appearance on social media, citing his perceived transphobic remarks in recent stand-up material. Select staff members also took a stance against the venue, reportedly refusing to work during Chappelle’s performance.
The staff all called out and refused to work the venue for Dave Chappelle. Labor solidarity is undefeated. https://t.co/0YbrmcNDnr
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_) July 21, 2022
As the show at First Avenue was cancelled, Chappelle’s performance was moved to nearby Varsity Theater.
“The First Avenue team and you have worked hard to make our venues the safest spaces in the country, and we will continue with that mission,” an announcement from First Avenue read.
“We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have. We know there are some who will not agree with this decision; you are welcome to send feedback.”
We hear you. Tonight’s show has been cancelled at First Avenue and is moving to the Varsity Theater. See our full statement for more. pic.twitter.com/tkf7rz0cc7
— First Avenue (@FirstAvenue) July 20, 2022
Just Announced: Dave Chappelle Live at First Avenue on July 20.
— First Avenue (@FirstAvenue) July 18, 2022
On Wednesday evening, Varsity Theater announced the shift of venues, mentioning that Chappelle’s new show would “be a phone-free experience.”
Attention Dave Chappelle Fans! The show scheduled for tonight at First Ave has now been moved to Varsity Theater. Your tickets from First Ave will be honored. Doors open at 8PM and we highly recommend arriving early.
This event will be a phone-free experience. pic.twitter.com/khrphPmqZo
— Varsity Theater (@VarsityTheater) July 20, 2022
Tickets for Chappelle’s original show at First Avenue released on July 18, selling out within minutes for the 1,550-capacity venue, according to Deadline.
Since the release of The Closer last year, Chappelle has stood by his remarks of the transgender community, calling the special “a masterpiece” in his What’s in a Name? stand-up Netflix performance last month. During a recent sit-down with students at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., where Chappelle graduated high school, the comedian continued to defend his material.
“The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it,” said Chappelle during the naming ceremony of the school’s theater. “And it has nothing to do with what you’re saying I can’t say. It has everything to do with my right, my freedom, of artistic expression.”