Dave Chappelle lost his stage in Minneapolis on Wednesday night, hours before showtime, when the venue decided to act on complaints from staff members and the public about the booking. "We hear you and we are sorry," First Avenue posted on social media, adding, "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 ongoing issue is the comedian's transgender jokes, the Washington Post reports, which some advocates say could inspire violence against LGBTQ people.
Chappelle was scheduled to perform at another theater in town, the Varsity, on Thursday and Friday, and First Avenue said his Wednesday show would be moved there, as well. Dozens of protesters demonstrated outside the Varsity Theater on Wednesday night, chanting and holding signs saying, "Transphobia isn't a joke." Chappelle joked about the protesters during his show but also asked the audience to keep supporting First Avenue, which was included in Prince's film Purple Rain. "It's an important place for our culture," Chappelle said. First Avenue acknowledged that not everyone would agree with its cancellation, a backlash to the backlash. "You are welcome to send feedback," First Avenue posted. The comedian's representatives did not immediately comment, per Variety. (Read more Dave Chappelle stories.)