Dave Chappelle addressed First Ave cancellation, “ridiculed” protestors
After having his First Avenue show cancelled at the last minute following backlash against the venue, Dave Chappelle's Wednesday night (7/20) Minneapolis show was moved to Varsity Theater, the first of three shows he's now scheduled for at the venue this week. Star Tribune reports that around 50 people protested the show from outside the venue:
Both sides engaged in animated and sometimes profane exchanges, at times standing only inches apart on the sidewalk in front of the theater.
"I wasn't expecting these kinds of numbers," said Aaron Bell of Minneapolis, a showgoer who was hit by an egg thrown from a screaming man that onlookers believed wasn't part of the protest.
"Trans rights matter!" the protesters chanted, with some asking fans to show support by leaving the line for the event, which wound its way for more than three blocks through Dinkytown.
In their review of the show, Star Tribune reports that Chappelle touched on the protests, and the venue change, during his one hour set:
He also ridiculed protesters who had spent a few hours outside the Varsity before the show, swearing through bullhorns and picking fights with fans. Chappelle referred to them as a small group of transgender lunatics and joked that they were probably hired by his wife, determined to suck the joy out of his life. He also shrugged off the idea that they posed any real threat.
"I can see a transgender hit squad coming from a mile away," he said, slapping the microphone against his thigh, a move that's become his trademark.
He pulled his punches when it came to First Avenue, a club that gave him a star on its Wall of Fame in 2013, but then canceled his show Wednesday after it was heavily criticized for the booking.
Early in the set, Chappelle seemed sympathetic, sharing that he had heard children of some First Avenue staffers had been threatened. But after a few glasses of booze (and a Foggy Geezer beer) he admitted that the cancellation had been devastating and hoped the club would be more courageous in the future.
Star Tribune reports that Chappelle also "chided" a woman for wearing a mask, called monkeypox a "gay disease," accused "The Price is Right" of racism, and talked about being attacked onstage at Hollywood Bowl at Wednesday night's show. Read their review in full here.