A notable comedy venue in downtown Minneapolis wasn’t joking around when it bowed out of hosting comedian Dave Chappelle, hours before his set began at a scheduled event Wednesday evening.
The establishment, First Avenue, posted on its social media that Chappelle’s upcoming show had been canceled and relocated to the nearby Varsity Theater for Wednesday’s scheduled time. Reports claim that online backlash after committing to host Chappelle made the theater reconsider.
An online petition was also launched to bar Chappelle from performing at First Avenue, which barely passed 100 signatures.
In their breaking statement, First Avenue seemingly apologized for having welcomed Chappelle, whose trademark comedy routine of equal opportunity roasting has rubbed some groups, notably in the LGBT community, the wrong way.
First Avenue issued a solemn statement preaching inclusion over hate.
“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 read.
“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.”
According to reports, tickets for Chappelle’s event at First Avenue sold out in five minutes.
Appeal for Chappelle’s comedy, according to the media’s talking heads, has been defined as too offensive to tolerate, which has also created backlash for all involved with the comedian.
Along First Avenue’s promotion of the event, online critics flooded their social media posts calling for the venue to cancel the show based on Chappelle’s past controversies with offending the gay community — notably in his Netflix special, “The Closer,” which included jokes about the transgender community.
Despite the apparent counterprogramming working against Chappelle from official critics to the online mob, a strong appeal for the legendary comedian’s work continues to shine through among audience scores.
Chappelle is additionally scheduled to perform at the Varsity Theatre on July 21 and 22.