Theater Cancels Dave Chappelle Show Because It’s a ‘Safe Space’ – Opinion

On Wednesday, Dave Chappelle was set to play the First Avenue auditorium. However, just hours before the performance, the Minneapolis venue pulled the plug.

Fox News reports that it was a result of choral protests.

Get CloserChappelle has discussed the issues surrounding gender identity with others and has continued to stand by his artistic freedom, despite strong backlash.

First Avenue’s Twitter feed was bombarded with comments denouncing the decision to allow the comedian to perform after announcing Chappelle’s new shows.

As described in a statementThe locale had taken note of criticisms and had corrected its course. Make no mistake — management’s racked by remorse.

Run-of-the-mill standards won’t do:

Our staff and artists as well as our community are heard and we are deeply sorry. We recognize that we need to be held accountable and admit we did not live up to our highest expectations. First Ave. does not exist as a box that houses people.

One might argue that the institution declared itself anti-comedy. Its core value is to protect sensitive souls.

Your team at First Avenue and I have done a lot to ensure that our spaces (including the 7th St Entry), are safe. We will keep working on this mission.

If words were violence and safety a shelter from ideas, Woke America might be history’s greatest haven soon to happen. However, it is the exact opposite. You become weaker the more you are challenged. Injury is easy when your strength drops.

Comedy stages — like college campuses — were once arenas for subversive philosophical points. Today, there are more important priorities.

By way of a “but,” First Avenue illustrated:

Although we support the rights of artists to express themselves freely, and value diversity, our focus has shifted from the positive impact it would have on the world. There will be those who disagree with our decision. You are invited to provide feedback.

One online critic claimed Chappelle’s appearance would’ve violated the venue’s Code of Conduct. They were absolutely right — if “phobic” stands in for “non-acquiescent.”

The policy is:

First Avenue venues are not open to the following behaviours: Discriminatory speech or acting in discriminatory ways or using racist or sexist language, including intentional misgendering, and transphobic, homophobic or homophobic words.

Facing fierce denouncement for gender-identity jokes he’s made in recent years, Dave has — in the eyes of many — solidly stood his ground.

Is the comedian still in the same place? Compare 2017 and 2021

“[I]Took part in a gallery party. … And there [were]A few people are eccentric, but one is [whom]A very successful man [who]She happened to wear a dress. I don’t know what you call him now — he was a tranny or a drag queen, perhaps. It was undoubtedly a man, whatever it was. And this man was definitely on drugs … [H]e looked sick. All his friends stood around, worried, and trying to save him. … I saw all this from a distance. … [I]I was curious. … And I went over there. … I said, ‘Excuse me, gentlemen…is he okay?’ And then they looked at me like I was evil — ‘She is fine.’ … Here’s my thing: I will support anybody’s right to be whoever they feel like they are inside. … However, my question is, to what degree do I have to participate in your self-image?”

“[O]A transgender woman was one of my favorite people. This isn’t a transgender man I know. When I first met this woman, she was transgender. … I would do 18 shows in the Bay area, sometimes in Oakland in a dirty hood nightclub, and she would be there — a white trans woman, laughing loud and hard at everything I said. … And one night after one of the shows, I met her. What it turned out to be, was that she had always wanted to be a comedian. It was me who became her hero. It was very touching. … [W]e became fast fiends.”

The performer appears to have progressed, but it’s been inadequate according to some.

First Avenue’s initial tweet advertising the show — which was ultimately held at the nearby Varsity Theater — saw social media incensed:

  • You’re platforming someone who is deliberately choosing to target trans people at a specific historical moment in which those actual people’s actual lives are in actual danger (even more than usual).”
  • As a First Ave. member, I find this gross.”
  • Really?It is horrible. First Ave is my fave comedy. Dave was my first love. However, I love transgender people more and their safety. Rethink this.”
  • Transphobia isn’t comedy, it is violence. This is a message that you’re sending to trans persons. Either First Ave. is a safe place for trans people, or it’s not. You can’t have it both ways.”
  • [W]hy platform anti-trans hate like this? Very disappointing move by First Ave.”

Might all transgender Americans detest Dave’s act? It doesn’t matter if they are operating as individual people. After all — if two people are thinking exactly alike, then one of them isn’t thinking.

Daphne Dorman — the subject of Chappelle’s story in The Nearer clip above — wasn’t in the offended camp. As Dave tells it, Daphne’s sense of humor trumped any hint of feeling unsafe:

“[S]he would be…laughing…at everything I said. Especially the trans jokes.”

Laughter is scarce these days.

When it comes to serious issues like growth, exploration, and cerebral sovereignty: Words are violence, disagreement is hatred, and no discussion can take place. And in lieu of being challenged and alternate to having to think, the country seems on course to grow softer and evermore unprepared — not only for one-liners but also for life.

Intellectual curiosity has been rendered inactive. Spirited debate is now on life support.

Someone tag the toe of comedy — it’s officially dead.



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