Theater cancels sold-out Dave Chappelle show hours before performance

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Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle

A theater in Minneapolis canceled a sold-out Dave Chappelle show yesterday, transferring the performance to a different venue just hours before Chappelle was set to take the stage. This is per CNN, which reports that Minneapolis’ First Avenue theater issued a statement on its Instagram this week, which included an apology to “staff, artists, and our community” for not holding itself to “our highest standards” for booking Chappelle, who has come under heavy criticism in recent years for a) doing transphobic material in his various comedy sets and specials and b) getting very angry at people suggesting that transphobic material by one of the most well-known and popular comedians on the planet might go some way toward propagating harmful attitudes towards trans people.

First Avenue’s post didn’t specifically cite Chappelle’s transphobic material as the reason for the cancellation—or the presence of a small group of protestors outside the theater ahead of Chappelle’s performance—but its statement does cite the “impact” that Chappelle’s appearance would have. “The First Avenue team and you have worked hard to make our venues the safest spaces in the country,” the statement reads in part.

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Chappelle, who performed that night at the Varsity Theater, did, of course, address the cancellation, calling protestors “transgender lunatics” and stating rumors that First Avenue staffers had been threatened to cancel his show. (He also managed to get in a line about monkeypox being a “gay disease,” because if there’s one place Chappelle remains at the cutting edge of modern comedy, it’s in finding the most recent and harmful false narratives to propagate.)

Anyway, please prepare your bodies for yet another chapter in the ongoing discourse about whether Dave Chappelle—who still, we feel it’s worth noting, got to do a show last night in which he charged $130 a pop for people to hear him do an hour about how silenced he is—is being canceled.