Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts

Events Items

Andrew Hankinson

Andrew Hankinson in conversation with Lars Iyer

Date/Time: Wednesday 9th February 2022, 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Venue: G.05, Percy Building, Newcastle University

DON’T APPLAUD. EITHER LAUGH OR DON’T. (AT THE COMEDY CELLAR.) (Scribe UK, 2020) is a biography of a comedy club, the Comedy Cellar in New York, leading up to the exposure by the New York Times of one of the club’s regulars, Louis CK, for sexual misconduct. Lars and Andrew will be discussing the effect of censorship and cancel culture in comedy, exploring what can and cannot be said and who gets to say it.

‘For all those interested in comedy, free speech and how they do those things in New York, Andrew Hankinson’s ‘Don’t Applaud. Either Laugh or Don’t’ is really excellent and has made me immediately want to read his other book.’ Dara Ó Briain

‘A brilliant writer and this is a fascinating book… It’s made me do a big think about offence, free speech and calling people out.’ Melissa Harrison

The Comedy Cellar is a tiny basement club in New York’s Greenwich Village. Run according to the principles of its owners, the Dworman family, it became a safe place for stand-ups to take risks and experiment. Superstar comedians such as Amy Schumer, Dave Chappelle, Jon Stewart, and Louis CK became regulars, celebrities started to hang out, the club hosted debates, and everyone was encouraged to argue at its back table. Then the Comedy Cellar ended up on the frontline of the global culture war.

Andrew Hankinson is a journalist, writer and creative writing teacher. He started his career at Arena magazine and has contributed to publications including GQThe ObserverThe Guardian, and Wired. He freelances at the BBC and has reported from many places including Haiti, Iraq and Ukraine. His first book, You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat], won the CWA Non-Fiction Prize in 2016. He hosts a podcast about creative nonfiction books called Logroll, and teaches creative writing at Newcastle University.

Lars Iyer is Head of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and author of the Spurious trilogy and Wittgenstein Jr. His latest novel is Nietzsche and the Burbs (Melville House, 2019).

Andrew Hankinson