Free Speech for All, From Finkelstein to Chapelle

Today’s guest is Noam Dworman, the owner of New York’s Comedy Cellar, the most influential—and controversial—comedy club on the planet. Dave Chapelle, Louis C.K., Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock, Andrew Schulz, and many others not only broke out from this club, but they also regularly return to try out new material. Trained as a lawyer, Dworman is a staunch defender of the First Amendment and, in an era of groveling apologies and censorship on the down low, he remains outspoken on the value and importance of free expression to a flourishing society. His podcast Live From the Table has guests ranging from Israel critic Norman Finkelstein to atheist Sam Harris to former Reasoners Radley Balko and Michael Moynihan—and never has a dull moment. Nick Gillespie talks with Dworman about free speech, the history of comedy in Greenwich Village, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia.

00:00- Noam Dworman Highlights
00:30- Introduction
01:00- Dworman’s Thriving Comedy Empire
08:24- Go Neither Woke Nor Broke
12:28- Dworman’s Free Speech Roots
18:58- Tipper Gore’s Censorship Crusade
21:49- When Did the Left Turn Against Free Speech?
24:57- Don’t Censor Anti-Israel Speech Either!
27:49- Comedy Culture IS Free Speech Culture
30:41- Dworman’s Father: Feuding With Bob Dylan
34:51- Dworman’s Podcast: Live From the Table
37:33- That Viral Philip Bump Episode
41:50- Noam Dworman’s Politics
43:53- Comedy During COVID
47:21- Free Speech Isn’t A Given In All Comedy Clubs
49:11- Bringing Back Louis C.K.
53:38- Hosting Norman Finkelstein
57:06- Open Debate About Israel
1:12:12- Contemporary Antisemitism In America

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  • The Reason Roundtable Live in D.C.! Come out on Thursday, June 6 as Reason magazine’s own Nick Gillespie, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, and Matt Welch put their personal “free minds and free markets” filter on the biggest stories of the day. Tickets are $10 and going fast! Go here for details.