Comedian Dave Chappelle took his protesters head-on after a sudden cancelation last week, reportedly cussing into bullhorns and calling his critics “transgender lunatics.”
Minnesota‘s First Avenue theater on Wednesday caved to protesters and canceled Chappelle’s set just hours before the show was slated to start. It was quickly relocated to the Varsity Theater that night.
According to the Star Tribune, Chappelle addressed protesters lined up outside the show, “swearing through bullhorns and picking fights with fans.” The comic reportedly referred to the protesters as “a small group of transgender lunatics.” He also joked that he “can see a transgender hit squad coming from a mile away.”
First Avenue reportedly canned Chappelle last week over protesters claiming the comic is transphobic. The comedian leans left but has refused to play the politically correct game with his material, specifically when it comes to radical gender theory.
“We hear you,” First Avenue posted via social media on Wednesday evening. “The Dave Chappelle show tonight at First Avenue has been canceled and is moving to the Varsity Theater,” the statement said, adding apologies to staffers.
“We know we must hold ourselves to the highest standards, and we know we let you down,” the venue continued. “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 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,” the statement said.
“We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have,” the theater added. “We know there are some who will not agree with this decision; you are welcome to send feedback.”
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
The Daily Wire reported that Chappelle surprised a New York City audience over the weekend, appearing as the unannounced opening act for fellow comedians Chris Rock and Kevin Hart on an “Only Headliners Allowed” tour stop.
“Had to sneak my way in here,” Chappelle joked with the thrilled audience, walking out to Radiohead’s “Karma Police.”
“Despite what you may have read about in the news, I’m okay, and I appreciate the support,” the comedian assured fans.