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Dave Chappelle mocks transgender protesters at Minneapolis show

Dave Chappelle returned jubilantly to the stage in Minneapolis on Thursday night to blast the woke protesters trying to cancel him, joking to the crowd of fans: ‘I’d respect them more if there was at least one black person!’

DailyMail.com was at the sold-out show at the Varsity Theater to hear Chappelle rattle off jokes about cancel culture and his ongoing difficulty using pronouns. 

Chappelle, 48, said he found it confusing ‘when the reproductive system is made out of words and semantics.’

‘Comedy is just comedy,’ Chappelle said when he took the stage to cheers, also noting that 50 years ago, George Carlin was arrested for performing his ‘seven words you can’t say on television’ routine. 

Other targets of Chappelle’s jokes included celebrities— including Chris Rock, Will Smith, and Louis CK. Meanwhile, he interacted with the audience. 

In particular, he kept coming back to a teen boy in the audience who said he wanted to be a comedian. Chappelle advised him to stay away from trans jokes. 

Concluding his routine, Chappelle urged his fans to greet animosity with love. And despite a small number of protesters who petitioned the show, the fans walked away smiling. 

The protesters didn’t stop fans from coming to the show, some coming in costumes including at least one dressed as Prince, a nod to one of Chappelle’s most famous sketches. 

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Dave Chappelle outside the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis last night

Chappelle routinely avoids the spotlight before and after shows. He is shown leaving the Varsity Theater last night after delighting fans with a 90-minute performance

Chappelle routinely avoids the spotlight before and after shows. He is shown leaving the Varsity Theater last night after delighting fans with a 90-minute performance 

We still love you, Dave! Chappelle fans flock to the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on Thursday night after a last-minute change in venue

We still love you, Dave! Chappelle fans flock to the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on Thursday night after a last-minute change in venue 

Fans filled out the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on Thursday night ahead of the show, one of two Chappelle played last night

Fans filled out the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on Thursday night ahead of the show, one of two Chappelle played last night

The fans far outnumbered the protesters at last night's show. Derek Torstenson, 26, carried a Pride fan and told people to 'go home'. 'I'm the new cop in town, b***h!' he screamed, but the crowd took little notice

The fans far outnumbered the protesters at last night’s show. Derek Torstenson, 26, carried a Pride fan and told people to ‘go home’. ‘I’m the new cop in town, b***h!’ he screamed, but the crowd took little notice 

Here for a good time! The fans lining up outside the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on Thursday night to hear Chappelle's show

Here for a good time! The fans lining up outside the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on Thursday night to hear Chappelle’s show 

The fans, who ranged in age, were undeterred by the fiasco that forced Chappelle to move the show at the last minute

The fans, who ranged in age, were undeterred by the fiasco that forced Chappelle to move the show at the last minute

There were a small number of police officers at the venue - but it was a jovial atmosphere, with the crowd ignoring the few protesters who turned up

There were a small number of police officers at the venue – but it was a jovial atmosphere, with the crowd ignoring the few protesters who turned up 

Chris Ryan, 60, said he felt Dave Chapelle offers a unique perspective. ‘I think he’s a thoughtful and intelligent person,’ Ryan said. ‘And I think he speaks without fear.’

‘Cancel culture has taken too big a position in our society,’ Ryan said. 

‘I think that if we’re not going to be divided, if we are going to be unified, we should be able to say what we want when we want, especially if it’s not mean spirited, and I don’t believe this work is mean spirited.’

Maddy Russell, 27, came to the show with her mother, Wenn Townsend, 52.

Maddy was too little to watch Chapelle’s sketch comedy show on Comedy Central but has watched all the stand up comedy specials. 

Her mother, meanwhile, wrote a paper on Chapelle’s sketch about being a blind racist who is black.

 I think he’s a thoughtful and intelligent person. And I think he speaks without fear.’

‘His jokes really seem intelligent and provoking,’ Russell said. 

Russell doesn’t feel offended by Chapelle’s jokes. ‘I took it more of a stab against white people,’ she said.

One particular recent joke that has caused controversy that refers to transness didn’t bother Russell. ‘I thought it was super funny,’ she said. 

Her friend, who is LGBTQ, thought it was offensive and asked Russell to watch it again, which only confirmed her original reaction. 

Maddy Russell, 27, came to the show with her mother, Wenn Townsend, 52. Maddy was too little to watch Chapelle's sketch comedy show on Comedy Central but has watched all the stand up comedy specials. Her mother, meanwhile, wrote a paper on Chapelle's sketch about being a blind racist who is black. 'His jokes really seem intelligent and provoking,' Russell said

Chris Ryan, 60, said he felt Dave Chapelle offers a unique perspective. 'I think he's a thoughtful and intelligent person,' Ryan said. 'And I think he speaks without fear'

Maddy Russell, 27, came to the show with her mother, Wenn Townsend, 52. Maddy was too little to watch Chapelle’s sketch comedy show on Comedy Central but has watched all the stand up comedy specials. Her mother, meanwhile, wrote a paper on Chapelle’s sketch about being a blind racist who is black. ‘His jokes really seem intelligent and provoking,’ Russell said

Chris Ryan, 60, said he felt Dave Chapelle offers a unique perspective. 'I think he's a thoughtful and intelligent person. And I think he speaks without fear'

Chris Ryan, 60, said he felt Dave Chapelle offers a unique perspective. ‘I think he’s a thoughtful and intelligent person. And I think he speaks without fear’ 

Eric Azmus told DailyMail.com: 'People are taking things out of context,' he said. Still, he doesn't have feelings one way or the other about them. 'I'm glad I'm in America: you're able to protest. but I'm also able to choose to go see it.'

'They are there as comedians, they are making jokes,' said Michaela Kramer, 23, who came to the show with Kramer. 'It's not personal jabs at anybody,'

Happy to be here: Eric Azmus told DailyMail.com: ‘People are taking things out of context. I’m glad I’m in America: you’re able to protest. but I’m also able to choose to go see it.’ Michaela Kramer, 23, added: ‘They are there as comedians, they are making jokes’

As for Townsend, she thinks differing opinions are healthy. ‘I’m glad they are protesting,’ she said.

Another fan, Erick Azmus, is in Minneapolis for a business trip, and heard about the show from a buddy at work. 

He’s been a Chapelle fan for 12 years. He doesn’t think much of the protesters.

 Low key, I want to taunt the protesters…. but I know I shouldn’t 

‘People are taking things out of context,’ he said. Still, he doesn’t have feelings one way or the other about them. 

‘I’m glad I’m in America: you’re able to protest. but I’m also able to choose to go see it.’

Cynthia Valencia, 32, she’s been a fan since she was 13. She doesn’t think Chapelle hates trans people, nor does she. ‘I don’t mind them at all,’ she said before the show.

She wishes the protesters would have a sense of humor. ‘Low key I want to taunt them but know I should not,’ she said.  

Logan Kramer, 24, thought the show was ‘electric,’ and it didn’t seem offensive. ‘It’s just comedy,’ Kramer said. ‘I see a sign back here. It says, ‘F*** these Nazis.’ I mean, I don’t really remember reading the history books or seeing videos of Hitler telling jokes. I don’t think that’s very transferable.

‘There’s no, or they see parallels there.’

The fans were met with protests from a small number of LGBTQ activists who remain unhappy about Chappelle's jokes

The fans were met with protests from a small number of LGBTQ activists who remain unhappy about Chappelle's jokes

The fans were met with protests from a small number of LGBTQ activists who remain unhappy about Chappelle’s jokes 

The small number of protesters outside Chappelle's show. He joked to the crowd that he would respect them more if their group included at least one person of color

The small number of protesters outside Chappelle’s show. He joked to the crowd that he would respect them more if their group included at least one person of color 

A protesters outside the Dave Chappelle show in Minneapolis on Thursday night. They were held back by barricades

A protesters outside the Dave Chappelle show in Minneapolis on Thursday night. They were held back by barricades 

A protester holding a sign telling 'queerphobes' to 'go home' on Thursday night at the Minneapolis show

A protester holding a sign telling ‘queerphobes’ to ‘go home’ on Thursday night at the Minneapolis show 

‘They are there as comedians, they are making jokes,’ said Michaela Kramer, 23, who came to the show with Kramer. ‘It’s not personal jabs at anybody.’

At the same time, Kramer said she understood the protesters need to protest. ‘But it’s weird coming out of a show where you just had a lot of fun laughing and having people scream at you.’

Chappelle even went to speak to the protesters after the show,. Some of them shouted ‘transphobes!’ to the audience members exiting the theater. 

First Avenue announced on Wednesday that it would no longer host the Dave Chappelle show after the Change.org petition

First Avenue announced on Wednesday that it would no longer host the Dave Chappelle show after the Change.org petition 

Kenya Brooks, one of the protesters, went to an alley on the side of the theater in hopes of getting a picture with Chappelle. 

She said Chappelle had come out to talk with the protesters. One person, she recalled, told Chappelle his jokes were killing trans people, and were the reason for trans people getting shot. 

Chappelle’s response, Brooks said, was to question whether jokes were really the cause of murder. ‘Do you think my jokes caused the Buffalo shooter in New York and do those things?’ Brooks recalled Chappelle saying.     

The superstar comedian’s performance at the venue First Ave was called off due to a number of social media protests from staff and regular patrons. 

They were infuriated by his smash-hit Netflix comedy special The Closer, which some critics slammed as transphobic – although others hailed its bravery and wit.  

First Avenue subsequently published a groveling apology saying it was sorry for causing ‘harm’ to anyone offended. 

Despite the new venue at the Varsity Theater, a small protest followed Chappelle.    

Among them was Derek Torstenson, 26, who carried a fan and told people to ‘go home’. 

Varsity, another theater in Minneapolis, quickly offered to host the show instead

Varsity, another theater in Minneapolis, quickly offered to host the show instead 

‘I’m the new cop in town, b***h!’ he screamed. 

He told DailyMail.com that he heard about the performance cancelation on Wednesday night and then came to the new venue on Thursday to voice his dissent.

‘I don’t tolerate transphobic anything,’ Torstenson said. ‘If I worked here I would quit my job on the spot.’

Torstenson had never heard of Dave Chapelle before learning of the controversy, but believes it’s his right to practice First Amendment rights. ‘I’m not doing anything dangerous,’ he said.

On his Facebook page, Torstenson lists his employer as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. His page is littered with photos of him protesting at various rallies such as abortion rights and gun reform. 

It is unclear if he is a trans man.  

The former star of ‘Chappelle’s Show’ has been the target of trans rights protests since the airing of his 2021 Netflix special ‘The Closer.’ 

In the Netflix show, Chappelle said: ‘Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact.’

Those comments, among other remarks that the comedian has made since then, have been deemed as transphobic by activists. 

Chappelle’s warm-up act on Thursday, Marshall Brandon, set the tone for the night mocking the protesters saying: ‘That was the worst protest I’ve ever seen.’ 

On the night of the show, Brandon posted a photo of him with Chappelle writing in the caption: ‘Rocking with the greatest.’

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