Dave Chappelle opens for Chris Rock and Kevin Hart in New York after Minnesota comedy gig canceled

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Dave Chappelle opened for Chris Rock and Kevin Hart in a surprise appearance on their “Only Headliners Allowed” tour stop at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, days after his own show in Minnesota was canceled in following a community backlash.

The 48-year-old comedian joined his friends on stage for what Hart called ‘the best moment of my career’ as Chappelle was reportedly greeted with thunderous applause and walked to the Radiohead song, ‘Karma Police’ .

“I had to sneak in here,” Chappelle told the public, via TMZ, adding, “Despite what you may have read in the news, I’m fine and appreciate the support.”

Less than a week ago, the comic came under renewed scrutiny for booking a gig on famed First Avenue in Minneapolis, only to have the venue cancel the show hours before Chappelle was due to perform. takes the stage due to public resistance to the transphobic jokes he made in his Netflix Special, “The Closer.”

Dave Chappelle made a surprise appearance on stage Saturday night in New York City as he opened the show for Chris Rock and Kevin Hart at New York's Madison Square Garden after being canceled in Minnesota days prior.

Dave Chappelle made a surprise appearance on stage Saturday night in New York City as he opened the show for Chris Rock and Kevin Hart at New York’s Madison Square Garden after being canceled in Minnesota days prior.
(Getty Pictures)

“I can’t even explain it…I can’t find the words…Just know that last night was the true definition of an ‘EPIC NIGHT,'” Hart confessed on Twitter while sharing some footage from the packed performance. in Midtown Manhattan.

“I love my brothers more than words can explain. What we did at the Garden will never happen again… We made history last night!!!!!!!!”

Ticket holders were equally thrilled to see their favorite legends on stage and took to Twitter with praise for the performances.

“Chris Rock, Kevin Hart and Dave Chappelle on the same stage at MSG were nothing short of legendary. Honored to have witnessed it,” @Callistusss wrote.

ACTORS DEFEND DAVE CHAPPELLE FOLLOWING CANCELED SHOW IN MINNESOTA: ‘NOBODY SHOULD BE CENSORED’

Another fan was thrilled to witness “comic history” and compared watching the larger-than-life comedians perform to seeing the Lakers’ big “Kobe drop 80.” Bryant scored 81 points — his game-highest scoring — against the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“Anyone who saw Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock and Kevin Hart last night at MSG is so lucky it’s a little hard to figure out,” Ben Gilbert tweeted. “It’s like going to a Kendrick and J. Cole show and the surprise opening is Drake.”

One fan said the show “was epic!!! #MSG…the opening comic was…Dave Chappelle you can’t be serious!! OMG so many laughs…Even better than you never thought! Thank you…for an absolutely EPIC event.”

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Chappelle inadvertently made waves earlier in the week after he was originally scheduled to perform at First Avenue on Wednesday, but the show was moved to a smaller stage three miles away at the Varsity Theater following heavy protests over his sixth special with Netflix, which was released in October. Her appearance was announced on Monday and tickets for the show sold out within minutes.

Comedian Flame Monroe, who is transgender, told Fox News Digital that free speech is paramount when it comes to protecting “the safest place” on Earth – the stage.

“When I grow up I want to be like him, because guess what, the show has to go on,” Monroe said. “I don’t want to be censored as a comedian. I say ridiculous things on stage, it’s hilarious, it can make you think, but it also teaches you that I’m a human being.”

Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada told Fox News Digital that “the comic book scene is their sanctuary. We have to protect the First Amendment. We can’t water it down. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves. “

Comedian Natalie Cuomo told Fox News Digital that “nobody should be censored” and that people should be able to speak freely, especially once they’ve already been booked to perform.

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“The venue already knew that,” she said. “It’s not like he released anything new after they booked it. It was already on Netflix. It was already publicly available. And canceling a show at the last minute like that is quite unacceptable to me.”

Protesters stood outside the First Avenue venue alongside ticket holders for the Dave Chappelle show before the performance was canceled and moved to another venue following a backlash on Wednesday night.

Protesters stood outside the First Avenue venue alongside ticket holders for the Dave Chappelle show before the performance was canceled and moved to another venue following a backlash on Wednesday night.
(John Reinan/Star Tribune)

Dave Chappelle has been backed by the comedy community after being canceled by a local Minnesota venue earlier this week.  He was pictured at a dedication ceremony for the theater at his alma mater in June.

Dave Chappelle has been backed by the comedy community after being canceled by a local Minnesota venue earlier this week. He was pictured at a dedication ceremony for the theater at his alma mater in June.
(Brian Stukes)

Cuomo added: “It gives me more power to say what I believe because it makes me want to go further with what I feel. I don’t think it’s okay to limit what people say. I think there should always be a space for whatever your beliefs No one should be censored I don’t think Dave Chappelle ever encouraged violence in any capacity, and anyone saying that is a gross exaggeration.

With artistic freedom at stakeDani Zoldan, the owner of Sand Up New York, insisted that people should be able to laugh when and how they want.

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“People should relax and be whoever you want. Be straight, gay, trans, non-binary. I wish everyone the best,” he said. “Everyone should be who they want to be. At the same time, you can’t tell people what they can and can’t say. If you don’t like what someone says, don’t support them. said, get moving get on with your life. Worry about yourself.

In “The Closer,” Chappelle discussed controversies surrounding gender identity and continued to defend her right to artistic freedom despite strong backlash.

A new Netflix comedy special from Chappelle was released under the radar earlier this month, focusing on a speech he gave at his alma mater after he declined their offer to rename a theater after him.

His talk at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., in November was the focus of “What’s in a Name,” where he recalled how students reacted to offensive jokes made in “The Closer” and how he had to defend his voice not only for his good, but also so that future generations could express their own opinions.

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Fox News’ Larry Fink contributed to this report.

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