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The New York Comedy Club canceled a performance by comedian Ari Shaffir after the organization received threats due to the performer’s off-color remarks about late athlete Kobe Bryant.
Shaffir, who previously hosted Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening before Roy Wood Jr. replaced him in the role, was scheduled to perform Tuesday night, a representative for the club confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter, but the venue canceled his booking and will not be working with him in the future after learning about a joke that Shaffir had tweeted. The club did not provide a comment on the record. Shaffir had performed the previous Saturday at the venue’s Midtown Manhattan location.
The club filed an aggravated harassment report with New York Police Department about several phone threats it was receiving as a result of the booking, the NYPD confirmed Wednesday. An investigation is ongoing into the threats.
Though Shaffir’s Twitter profile was private as of Wednesday morning, TMZ, which was the first to report the development, reported that the day of the longtime Los Angeles Laker’s death, Shaffir tweeted a video of him saying, “Kobe Bryant died 23 years too late today. He got away with rape because all the Hollywood liberals who attack comedy enjoy rooting for the Lakers more than they dislike rape. Big ups to the hero who forgot to gas up his chopper. I hate the Lakers. What a great day.”
Shaffir did not return a request for comment.
Shaffir on Tuesday published a lengthy mea culpa on his Instagram explaining that his video was a bit he does when any celebrity dies where he posts terrible things about them. “Every time a beloved celebrity dies I post some horrible shit about them,” he wrote. “I’ve been doing it for years now. I like destroying gods. And right when a famous person dies they’re at their most worshipped. So as a response to all the outpouring of sympathy on social media, I post something vile. it’s just a joke. I don’t really hate any of the people.” Shaffir called the routine “dark comedy” and “moronic inappropriate posts I make for the fans who signed up to see them.”
Shaffir added that he posted his video before he learned children were on board the helicopter whose crash killed Bryant and eight others on Sunday, and that fans asked him for a “Kobe post.” “Kids dying like that, it’s horrible,” he wrote. “All the other people dying, that [sic] horrible too. It’s horrible he died. Really really sad. What a terrible thing that was that happened.”
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