The famed Minneapolis concert venue First Avenue has canceled a scheduled show starring comedian Dave Chappelle following woke outcry over his Netflix comedy special The Closer.
According to Variety, First Avenue issued the cancelation “just hours before the comedian was set to perform” after a torrent of woke activists berated the venue on social media. In its statement announcing the cancelation, First Avenue said that it “lost sight of the impact” host Dave Chappelle would have.
“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 venue said.
“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,” it continued. “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 would not agree with this decision; you are welcome to send feedback.”
Chappelle has moved his show to Varsity Theater, which will host more of the comedian’s shows this week.
We hear you. Tonight’s show has been cancelled at First Avenue and is moving to the Varsity Theater. See our full statement for more. pic.twitter.com/tkf7rz0cc7
— First Avenue (@FirstAvenue) July 20, 2022
Breaking: Militant far-left groups in Minneapolis are calling for a violent direct action against Dave Chappelle's show tonight. They led an onslaught against @FirstAvenue & successfully pressured it to cancel. Now show has moved to the @VarsityTheater. https://t.co/7cgkLuclJy pic.twitter.com/rAMMAYaeJX
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) July 20, 2022
This theater in Minneapolis booked and promoted a live show by Dave Chappelle. Activists objected, demanding they cancel it because the show "harms" them and puts them in "danger." The theater capitulated and apologized for the "harm." The show will now be in a different theater: https://t.co/uziNxyGDfv
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 21, 2022
Attention Dave Chappelle Fans! The show scheduled for tonight at First Ave has now been moved to Varsity Theater. Your tickets from First Ave will be honored. Doors open at 8PM and we highly recommend arriving early.
This event will be a phone-free experience. pic.twitter.com/khrphPmqZo
— Varsity Theater (@VarsityTheater) July 20, 2022
The cancelation comes after Dave Chappelle declined to have a performing arts theater at his former high school bear his name following woke student backlash over The Closer. During a recent dedication ceremony, Chappelle announced that the theater’s name will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of artistic oppression,” Chappelle said at the ceremony. “The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it.”
In the heat of the controversy, Chappelle held a Q&A with 600 students and was met with fierce criticism as they accused him of endangering transgender lives and handling criticism like a “child.” Though the school delayed the dedication ceremony, it did not back down from its decision to name the theater after Chappelle.
“While we appreciate Dave’s impromptu and spirited fundraising initiative, we stand behind our decision to honor the wishes of our co-founder, the late Peggy Cooper Cafritz, to name the theatre after Chappelle,” a statement from the school said at the time.. “All donations will go towards arts programming and every donor, irrespective of their support or opposition to the theater naming, will receive an official thank you from our team.”