The comedian Dave Chappelle’s stand-up show in Minneapolis, Minnesota was postponed on Wednesday only hours before it was scheduled to start.
First Avenue, the famous location that served as the backdrop for Prince’s “Purple Rain,” revealed that the performance will take place at Varsity Theater instead.
The venue responded to the criticism it had seen on social media for hiring Chappelle, who has had his share of controversy this year after his Netflix special “The Closer” was condemned for transphobic jokes, in an Instagram post.
“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 reads. “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.”
After announcing Chappelle’s show earlier this week, First Avenue’s social media was filled with comments in protest of the comedian, though TMZ reported that tickets quickly sold out. “Disgusting that you are allowing Dave [Chappelle] to perform at your venue when your guild lines [sic] specifically state not the homophobic or transphobic language will be tolerated,” one comment reads.
In addition to two more performances on July 21 and 22, the show on Wednesday is now being held at Dinkytown’s Varsity Theater.
In a recent address made at his alma mater that was recently published by Netflix, Chappelle repeated the defense of his jokes by supporting artistic expression.
Chappelle said in his address, “What’s in a Name?,” that he had chosen to call the school’s theater the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression rather than have it named after him.
Chappelle clarified that he made the choice after discussing it with students at the school after they criticized his comments in “The Closer.”
“When I heard those talking points coming out of these children’s faces, that really, sincerely, hurt me. Because I know those kids didn’t come up with those words. I’ve heard those words before. The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it,” Chappelle said. “And it has nothing to do with what you’re saying I can’t say.
It has everything to do with my right, my freedom, of artistic expression. That is valuable to me. That is not severed from me. It’s worth protecting for me, and it’s worth protecting for everyone else who endeavors in our noble, noble professions.”