Dave Chappelle’s benefit show for Yellowstone sells out amid controversy

A three-night benefit concert to support communities in Montana affected by the June floods that shut down parts of Yellowstone National Park sold out quickly on Tuesday. Dave Chappelle, who continues to be embroiled in the controversy, is due to perform at one of the shows on August 14.

Musician John Mayer, who has a residence in Montana, organized the Rise for the River concert and said proceeds will benefit a new fund called the Southwest Montana Flood Relief Fund which serves Park and Madison counties. Proceeds will go towards emergency shelter, drinking water, food and clothing for those affected by flooding. Although the three concerts, which will take place on August 8, 14 and 21, have been sold out, those who wish to support the cause can still go online donations.

Chappelle has come under heavy criticism since the October 2021 release of his netflix stand-up special The closest. Some of the material in this special has been condemned as transphobic, and it continues to receive backlash. Last week a Minneapolis location canceled a performance by the comedian a few hours before he takes the stage. The performance was moved to another location in Minneapolis, and Chappelle later joked about “cancellation culture” when he appeared as a surprise opener in New York on Saturday for a performance by Kevin Hart and Chris Rock.

The story of Chappelle’s jokes irritating the LGBTQ+ community was brought up by social media users with the Rise for the River show announcement.

“Sad to see a transphobic scammer not being funny about this,” read one Twitter Publish on the event.

A concert featuring controversial comedian Dave Chappelle benefiting those affected by last month’s flooding that shut down part of Yellowstone National Park has sold out quickly. In this photo, Chappelle speaks onstage during the dedication ceremony for the Dave Chappelle Theater at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts on June 20 in Washington, DC
Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images

This week, Chappelle is scheduled to perform Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Santa Rosa, Calif., and the city’s LGBTQ+ activists are calling for the cancellation of all three sold-out shows at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts.

“By embracing the transphobia that it does, it normalizes transphobia,” said Jennifer Rihl, a member of the TransLife Sonoma County organization. ABC affiliate KGO-TV on the protests against his Santa Rosa performances.

Rise for the River will also feature Bob Weir, formerly of the Grateful Dead, for his August 8 show. Mayer is a member of Dead & Company with Weir, who performs music made famous by Weir’s former band, and he’s also named a performer for August 8.

Mayer will headline the August 21 concert, and his name is listed on August 14, the night headlined by Chappelle. The two have shared the stage together on several occasions over the years, with de Mayer appearing on a Chappelle show sketches in 2004 to the duo touring together.

Newsweek contacted Pine Creek Lodge, site of the Rise for the River shows, for comment.

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