dave chapelle
WASHINGTON, D.C. - JUNE 20: Comedian Dave Chappelle speaks at the dedication of the theater at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. on June 20, 2022. The auditorium was set to be renamed for alum Dave Chappelle but, in a surprise move, he asked the theater to be named Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Sold-Out Dave Chapelle Show Cancelled by Legendary First Avenue Venue in Minneapolis (Who’s Laughing Now?)

We no longer live in a world where bigots can just run their mouths off – and that’s a good thing. But rarely are there consequences for when small-minded people blast their asinine opinions off left and right, especially if those people are money-makers. Dave Chapelle, however, is getting a tiny taste of what it feels like to get canceled because the transphobic comedian’s gig was literally canceled by a legendary entertainment venue in Minneapolis.

First Avenue is a high-profile, beloved stop for many big tours. If it’s still not ringing a bell, it’s where Prince filmed the 1984 film Purple Rain. (Now we see your heads nodding in recognition.) It’s a big deal to have a show there, and not just among Twin Citians. So heads turned when the venue canceled Chapelle’s sold-out set hours before he was supposed to take the stage.


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Here’s the full statement, which was posted on First Avenue’s Instagram account:

“The Dave Chappelle show tonight at First Avenue has been cancelled and is moving to the Varsity Theater.

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. We know there are some who will not agree with this decision; you are welcome to send feedback.

If you are a ticket holder, look for an email with information on your ticket(s) transferring to the show at Varsity Theater.”

In case you missed the offensive jabs that Chapelle has been called out for (yet still not reprimanded enough for), the latest was in his 2021 comedy special The Closer, in which he identified as “team TERF” or “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.”

“Gender is a fact,” he said. “Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. That is a fact.”

The fact is Chapelle is wrong. Gender is a construct. And many children are born via C-section, subverting the “through the legs” thing altogether. Sadly, even being a stupid transphobe still isn’t enough to get your stand-up show entirely canceled. Because the fact of the matter is: it was relocated. And that really isn’t a punishment harsh enough.

Cover Photo: The Washington Post (Getty Images)