Dave Chappelle’s show in Minneapolis canceled by venue after backlash

Comedian Dave Chappelle’s show at a Minneapolis venue on Wednesday was canceled hours before he was set to take the stage because of backlash from staff and the community over his recent jokes about transgender people.

First Avenue announced in a statement that Chappelle would not perform at the venue on Wednesday night but at another location in Minneapolis.

The venue had faced blowback for booking the legendary comedian for a surprise, sold-out performance in the months that followed his 2021 Netflix special, “The Closer,” in which Chappelle doubled down on jokes about the LGBTQ community after past accusations of homophobia and transphobia.

“To staff, artists, and our community, we hear you and we are sorry,” First Avenue said in a statement, which was posted to social media less than three hours before the show was scheduled to begin. 

“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 storied venue, which is best known for its appearances in Prince’s 1984 film “Purple Rain,” added that while it believes in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, “we lost sight of the impact” booking Chappelle would have on the community.

“We know there are some who will not agree with this decision; you are welcome to send feedback,” First Avenue wrote.

A representative for Chappelle did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Thursday.

Chappelle has faced criticism for comments that LGBTQ advocacy groups say could incite harm against transgender people. As part of “The Closer,” Chappelle joked about transgender genitalia, said “gender is a fact” and told his audience he was on “team TERF,” an acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist.