Renowned comedian Dave Chappelle is trending again – and it’s not because he released a new comedy special. Instead, Minneapolis performance venue First Avenue is receiving significant backlash after announcing a surprise show by the comedian that will take place on July 20.
Chappelle’s critics are still upset about jokes the comedian told about the LGBTQ community in his Emmy-nominated special “The Closer.”
“Read these comments. 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). That context matters. Or at least it should,” a poet and activist whose Twitter username is @elguante wrote.
Not everyone saw it that way.
Twitter user @hasaniharris responded, “actually opening a conversation here not attacking— is being critical of trans people targeting them? Is targeting inherently negative? Is the “context” his last stand up? ….I feel like I’m missing information and folks is throwing shit on dude that he didn’t actually say or do.”
What didn’t spark as much conversation on social media was Chappelle’s donation of the proceeds from his Buffalo show in June to the families of the mass shooting victims who a white supremacist gunned down at Tops Supermarket in May.
Dave Chappelle reportedly booked the Buffalo show at the over 3,000-seat Shea’s Performing Arts Center at the last minute but it still sold out within the hour, according to a report by Black Enterprise. The families of the racially-motivated terrorist attack were also invited to the show, per the report.
“He said, and I’m paraphrasing, (he) came here to Buffalo to recognize the victims and for these families,” Kevin Sweeney, Shea’s director of marketing and communications, told BE of Chappelle’s generous gesture.
Despite the continued backlash, Chappelle’s popularity isn’t waning. His Minneapolis show sold out in mere minutes and he also has two upcoming Bay Area shows on July 26 and 27.
Chappelle also seems unbothered and unwilling to buckle to his critics. During a recent speech at his alma mater, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, he doubled down on his right to free speech. The speech is available to view on Netflix.
“The more you say I can’t say something, the more urgent it is for me to say it,” Chappelle says. “And it has nothing to do with what you’re saying I can’t say. It has everything to do with my right, my freedom of artistic expression. That is valuable to me.”
PHOTO: Dave Chappelle performs during a theater dedication ceremony honoring the comedian and actor, and to raise funds to support Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, Monday, June. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)