Comedians have come to the defense of Dave Chappelle after a Minneapolis theater pulled the rug out from under him and canceled his performance only hours beforehand, caving to pressure from liberals who took offense of his jokes on transgender people.
A Fox News story published Friday interviewed multiple comedians and comedy club owners, all of whom viewed what happened to Chappelle as wrong.
The comedian was about to perform at the historic First Avenue concert venue in Minneapolis, but the theater canceled the show, and Chappelle had to move to another venue at the last minute.
The venue issued a statement regarding the backlash and its decision to cancel the show, saying that it “worked hard to make our venues the safest spaces in the country, and we will continue with that mission.” The statement also said “we believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression” but “lost sight of the impact this would have.”
Minnesota outlet The Star Tribune reported, “[Chappelle] said First Avenue’s decision was devastating, but he encouraged his fans to continue to support the club. “It’s an important place for our culture,” he said.”
Comedian Natalie Cuomo told Fox News, “nobody should be censored” and people should be able to speak freely. Cuomo was particularly bothered that Chappelle had already booked the show.
“The venue already knew,” she added. “It’s not like he released something new after they booked them. This was already on Netflix. This was already accessible to the public. And canceling a show last minute like that is pretty unacceptable to me.”
“I don’t think it’s okay to limit what people say. I think there needs to always be a space for whatever your beliefs are,” Cuomo continued. “Nobody should be censored. I don’t think Dave Chappelle was ever encouraging violence in any capacity, and for anyone to say that is a gross exaggeration.”
Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada told Fox that the “comic stage is their sanctuary. We have to protect the First Amendment. We can’t dilute it. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves.”
Dani Zoldan, Owner of Stand Up New York, called the canceling of Dave’s show a “dangerous precedent.”
“I don’t feel like it’s right that people can tell other people what they can and cannot say,” she said. “If people don’t want to support him … if people are offended by some of his transgender jokes, they don’t have to support him. They don’t have to watch the Netflix special. They don’t have to buy tickets to their show.”
“I don’t want to be censored as a comedian. I say some ridiculous things on stage, that’s hilarious, that may make you think, but what it also does is teaches you that I’m a human being,” transgender comedian Flame Monroe told the outlet.
“It’s not about race or color or size or gender, it’s about money. You don’t want to make money,” Monroe shared, adding that comedians “don’t want to spew anger and hate and bitterness. You want people to laugh.”
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