Dave Chappelle’s Minneapolis show canceled amid backlash and moved to a new venue

First Avenue decided not to host the Wednesday night show, which was held at the Varsity Theater.

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Dave Chappelle’s July 20 comedy show at Minneapolis’ First Avenue was canceled. The stand-up performance was moved to a new venue after the club received criticism from fans about Chappelle’s perceived bigotry toward the transgender community.

First Avenue announced on its Twitter account that it canceled Chappelle’s Wednesday night set and that the show was moved to nearby Varsity Theater. Chappelle has received a lot of backlash for his jokes about the LGBTQ community in his Netflix specials, particularly 2021’s “The Closer.”

Dave Chappelle’s July 20 comedy show at Minneapolis’ First Avenue was canceled and moved to another venue because of perceived transphobic comments in some of his Netflix specials. (Photo: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

The tweet about the cancellation included a statement from First Avenue:

“To staff, artists and our community, we hear you and we are sorry. We know we must hold ourselves to the highest standards, and we know we let you down. We are not just a black box with people in it, and we understand that First Ave is not just a room, but meaningful beyond our walls. 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. We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have.”

In addition to Wednesday’s show, Varsity Theater has added two additional Chappelle sets for Thursday and Friday, according to The Wrap.

Earlier this month, Netflix released a Chappelle special, “What’s in a Name,” chronicling his speech at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts theater renaming ceremony. The theater was supposed to be renamed after Chappelle, who attended the Washington, D.C., high school. He opted to “defer” the honor, suggesting that the name be changed to the Theatre for Artistic Freedom and Expression.

Chapelle spent most of the 40-minute speech honoring his former classmates and teachers, but he also addressed the criticism he received from current students during a Q&A session at the school months before the renaming. The Grammy Award-winning comic stated that many students expressed concern and anger about his alleged anti-trans jokes but he took offense at the lack of context in their criticism of his comedy.

“And this is my biggest gripe with this whole controversy with ‘The Closer’: That you cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance from his words,” Chappelle said.

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