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Dave Chappelle’s scheduled appearance Wednesday at Minneapolis venue First Avenue will no longer take place, with the club’s team apologizing after facing backlash for booking the comedian.
Hours before the show was set to begin, First Avenue’s Instagram account posted a statement announcing that Chappelle’s performance would now take place at Varsity Theater, also located in Minneapolis, where the star had already been scheduled to perform two sets on both Thursday and Friday. First Avenue’s apology references apparent criticism of the venue for having booked Chappelle, who has been the subject of controversy surrounding jokes about the transgender community from his Netflix special The Closer.
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“The Dave Chappelle show tonight at First Avenue has been cancelled and is moving to the Varsity Theater,” read the message from the team behind First Avenue, which appears in Prince’s 1984 film Purple Rain. “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 statement continued, “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.”
Varsity Theater posted a statement to Twitter confirming that it will now host Chappelle on Wednesday as well. “Attention Dave Chappelle Fans! The show scheduled for tonight at First Ave has now been moved to Varsity Theater,” it read, in part.
A representative for Chappelle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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