Dave Chappelle was to perform at the First Avenue auditorium on Wednesday. The Minneapolis venue pulled the plug just hours before the show was to begin.
Fox News reported the decision was taken after much fanfare.
Chappelle discussed the controversy surrounding gender identity in The Closer. He continued to defend his artistic freedom, despite much backlash.
First Avenue was the target of a torrent of Twitter comments condemning the comedian for his decision to perform after the announcement of Chappelle’s new shows.
The statement stated that the locality had listened to its needs and made corrections. It is obvious that management was deeply disappointed.
These standards may not be the correct ones.
Staff, artists, and the community: We’re sorry. First Avenue is more than just a place.
The establishment could be argued to be anti-comedy. Its core value lies in the protection and cares for sensitive souls.
My team at First Avenue has worked tirelessly to make our venues, which include the 7th St Entry safest, in the country. That effort will be continued.
If violence and safety were the only words that Woke America was known for, it could have been history’s greatest haven. You will be weaker the more you are tested. If strength is low, injuries can easily occur.
Comedy venues, similar to college campuses, used to be placed for philosophical subversion.
First Avenue is illustrated with a “but”.
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.
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
One online critic claimed Chappelle’s appearance would’ve violated the venue’s Code of Conduct. They were absolutely right — if “phobic” stands in for “non-acquiescent.”
Per the policy:
The following behavior is not welcome at First Avenue venues: Acting or speaking in a discriminatory manner or using racist, sexist, ableist, transphobic, homophobic, xenophobic, or other biased languages including intentional misgendering.
Facing fierce denouncement for gender-identity jokes he’s made in recent years, Dave has — in the eyes of many — solidly stood his ground.
Has the comedian not adjusted at all? Compare 2017 to 2021:
“I went to a gallery party. … And there were a few eccentric types, one of whom was a very wealthy man who happened to be wearing a dress. I don’t know what you call him now — he was a tranny or a drag queen, perhaps. Whatever it was, it was definitely a man. And this man was definitely on drugs … He looked sick. And all his friends were standing around him, concerned, trying to revive him. … I saw all this from a distance. … I got curious. … And I went over there. … I said, ‘Excuse me, gentlemen…is he okay?’ And then they looked at me like I was evil — ‘She is fine.’ … Here’s my thing: I will support anybody’s right to be whoever they feel like they are inside. … However, my question is, to what degree do I have to participate in your self-image?”
“Transgender people were the coolest I’ve ever met. I performed 18 shows in the Bay Area and occasionally in Oakland at a nightclub called the dirty hood. I would see her, a trans-white woman, laughing at everything I said. “… I became fast friends with her. ”
While the performer appears to be making some progress, others feel that it is not enough.
First Avenue’s initial tweet advertising the show — which was ultimately held at the nearby Varsity Theater — saw social media users incensed:
- “You’re platforming someone who is deliberately choosing to target trans people at a specific historical moment in which those actual people’s actual lives are in actual danger (even more than usual).”
- “As a First Ave. member, I find this gross.”
- “Really? Cannot overstate how awful this is. I loved First Ave, love comedy, I used to love Dave. But I love trans people and their safety more. Rethink this.”
- “Transphobia isn’t a comedy, it is violence. Do you realize the message you are sending to trans folks with this? Either First Ave. is a safe place for trans people, or it’s not. You can’t have it both ways.”
- “Why does platform anti-trans hate like this? This is a very disappointing move by First Ave.”
Will all transgender Americans hate Dave’s actions? Two people can think the same way, but they don’t know what they’re thinking.
Daphne Dorman — the subject of The Closer story in The Closer video below — wasn’t in the offended group. Dave explains how Daphne’s sense of humor outweighed any feelings of danger.
“She would…laugh at all I said.” “I loved the trans jokes.
Laughter these days is rare.
Words cannot be used to justify violence, hatred, or exploration. The nation is becoming less ready to tackle everyday tasks, not just one-liners.
Intellectual curiosity has been placed in a coma. Spirited debate is now on life support.
It’s dead! End of discussion.