Interview: Noam Dworman On The Risk Of Censorship

I talked to Noam Dworman, owner of the Comedy Cellar about censorship, starting and running a small family-owned business, freedom of information vs. freedom of speech (which is more important?) and... Louis C.K.'s return to the stage...

Some background: a few weeks ago, Louis C.K. showed up at the Comedy Cellar.

Noam Dworman (the owner) wasn’t there. He got a text. “Louis’s here.” He saw it the next morning.

Now everyone is asking Noam, “Where do you draw the line?”

He’s gotten death threats. The Twitter mob came after him. He’s become a talking point. And the more he’s reduced to a talking point, the more hate he gets.

So I wanted to ask Noam questions about his life, his club, his business, his family. He told me about his influences. I wanted to get to know him. And then I wanted to get to know his side of the controversy.

But then I realized… he doesn’t have a “side.”

Sure, he has an opinion.

He has thoughts.

But it’s not for one team and against another. And somehow, that gets him EVEN more hate.

People want him to ban Louis from the stage.

“I’ve been accused of not believing the victims,” Noam said. “And nothing could be further from the truth. I can’t say this enough: It’s not about not believing anybody. It’s not. I take everyone at their word. I don’t know how else to put it.”

He told me about a customer who called yelling.

“What did he say?”

“He said, ‘I was there with my in-laws. We come to the Comedy Cellar to have a good time and this was upsetting them.’”

Noam listened (something a lot of people don’t do).

And they worked it out.

“We actually became friends,” Noam said. “He actually came in and offered to tell the media that he thought he overreacted.”

Louis could’ve done some things better his first time back on stage. He used a trigger word. He said “rape whistle” on stage. And he didn’t address the elephant in the room.

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