Dave Chappelle opens for Chris Rock and Kevin Hart after cancelled Minnesota gig

‘Despite what you may have read about in the news, I’m okay and I appreciate the support’

Maanya Sachdeva
Monday 25 July 2022 08:41 BST
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Dave Chappelle opened for Chris Rock and Kevin Hart’s comedy show in New York on Saturday (23 July) after a Minnesota venue cancelled his own headline slot.

Last week, Chappelle’s sold-out gig at the famed First Avenue in Minnesota was cancelled by organisers hours before it was scheduled to begin, citing public backlash over the comedian’s joke about the transgender community in his Netflix special The Closer.

The show was moved to the nearby Varsity Theater, as outraged fans called First Avenue out for cancelling a pre-planned show off the back of last year’s special.

According to the Daily Mail, whose reporter attended the relocated show, Chappelle took the stage last Wednesday (20 July), criticising those who tried to cancel him.

“Comedy is just comedy,” he said as he entered the stage. “I’d respect them more if there was at least one Black person!”

He then opened Rock and Hart’s Rock Hart : Only Headliners Allowed tour show at the prestigious Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday, surprising audience members – one of whom likened the experience to “getting to watch The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols at their best on the one show” on Twitter.

Walking onstage while smoking a cigarette, Chappelle, 48, reportedly joked that he “had to sneak my way in here” before adding: “Despite what you may have read about in the news, I’m okay and I appreciate the support.”

Hart, 43, called the Saturday’s show “by far the best moment of my career” in a post on Twitter, also sharing pictures of the trio together.

His full post read: “Last night was by far the best moment of my career… I can’t even explain it… I can’t find the words… Just know that last night was the true definition of a “EPIC NIGHT”… I love my brothers more than words can explain. We made history last night!!!”

Following the release of Chappelle’s Netflix special The Closer in October last year, the comedian was criticised for a number of comments he made during the show, including that he was “team Terf” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), and that the LGBT+ community was attempting to destroy the lives of celebrities such as JK Rowling by “cancelling” them.

However, the Television Academy deemed the special worthy of an Emmy nomination earlier this month, recognising The Closer in the Outstanding Variety Special category.

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