First Avenue has canceled Dave Chappelle's late-notice show following backlash from some of its customers over the standup comic's recent transphobic routines.
The legendary venue drew drew major criticism after it was announced that the comic, who has courted controversy with some of the jokes and comments he made in his Netflix special, The Closer, would perform in its mainroom Wednesday evening.
But it announced just hours before the show that it's been canceled and moved to the Varsity Theater, where Chappelle is performing two more shows on Thursday and Friday.
First Avenue posted a tweet saying, among other things, "We hear you," and said in a statement that while it believes in "diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, we lost sight of the impact this would have."
After announcing the show, many people pointed out that First Avenue has its own rule that states people acting in a discriminatory manner, including using transphobic language, is not welcome at its venue.
In The Closer, Chappelle discussed his strained relationship with the LGBTQ+ community, clarifying some jokes he has told in the past while also delivering new ones that struck a nerve with some, including those at the expense of trans people.
Time Magazine studied the issue, with Chappelle explaining why people become outraged at his words:
"Chappelle argues that the people who are most angry at him are the ones who only hear his soundbites as opposed to whole sets. He says the target of his jokes are not gay or trans people but white people, and insinuates the jokes are retaliatory for the way that queer white people still oppress Black people. 'I have never had a problem with transgender people. If you listen to what I’m saying clearly, my problem has always been with white people,' he says. At another point, he expands upon this, saying, 'Gay people are minorities until they need to be white again.'"
However, the anger may come from other things he said in the special, like aligning himself with author J.K. Rowling and saying he's on "Team TERF" (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), claiming that "gender is a fact."
He also ended the special by telling a story about Daphne Dorman, who was a trans comic that Chappelle befriended in San Francisco. He said Dorman opened for him one night and they had an open discussion about trans identity. When Chappelle told her he didn't understand, Dorman replied, "I don't need you to understand me. I just need you to believe that I'm having a human experience."
"I believe you, because it takes one to know one," Chappelle recalled saying.
He noted at the end of the special that he would stop doing jokes that relate to the LGTBQ+ community, asking the community to "stop punching down on my people" in return.