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"Liberal" Is A Dirty Word For Comedian George Carlin

by The idaho Statesman Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2004 at 9:37 PM

No other comedian consistently tweaks as many nerves, churns as many stomachs and terrorizes as many conservatives as George Carlin. The man is a menace.

"Liberal" ...
georgecarlin.jpg, image/jpeg, 76x114

'Liberal' is a dirty word for George Carlin

Michael Deeds

The Idaho Statesman

Jan. 24, 2004 12:00 AM

No other comedian consistently tweaks as many nerves, churns as many stomachs and terrorizes as many conservatives as George Carlin.

The man is a menace.

"The more resistance and discomfort I can feel from the audience, the better I feel," Carlin explains contentedly in a phone interview. "The happier I am."

Being a gleeful irritant has its perks. Carlin's resume includes 24 albums, 12 HBO specials, three Grammy Awards and five Emmy nominations. His next book, "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops," will be published later this year. Carlin also will enjoy his most significant acting role to date in this year's "Jersey Girl," which co-stars Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.

At age 66, Carlin stands alone in his class.

Question: There aren't many big comedians over the age of 40. What keeps you so successful?

Answer: Uh, quality. It's a fact. I'm one of the best ones out there. I sell 250,000 tickets a year. There aren't many comedians in my age group that do that. Cosby probably does that ... I'm kind of singular now. I mean, I'm not being boastful or conceited. I'm being an accurate reporter of the facts. I'm pretty good at this. The reason it's lasted so long is I continue to grow and turn out new material.

Q: You don't do a lot of topical, current event comedy, do you?

A: I don't like topical stuff. It's too easy. Anybody can make fun of Bush. Hillary Clinton. Monica Lewinsky. Mike Tyson. That ... ain't hard. That's like shooting fish in a barrel. So I prefer going at things from an odd angle, different angle. I'm doing stuff about suicide ... I'm doing stuff about the fabric of space-time splitting open. I'm doing stuff about being a modern man with the language. So I'm just different, you know?

Q: Is being dark as important to you now as it was earlier in your career?

A: I don't know that I ever was (dark) - except now. I like testing people's limits. I like finding out what an audience feels uncomfortable with and pushing on that. That's the fun of art.

Q: You're known as a very liberal comic. Are you trying to change people's political views when you go out there? Do you have an underlying agenda?

A: No. First of all, I'm not liberal. I'm just about (being) anti-United States. I don't like the way this country operates. I think we've ruined this place. And I think it's largely because of businessmen. And businessmen are not liberals. So if that makes me a liberal, then that's just an association. It's not a choice. ...

I do not care about changing anybody. Nobody. I go out there to show the rest of the Americans how badly they're doing. This country has been, for about 180 years now, badly mishandled. And it's been in the wrong hands. It's been in the hands of the business interests.

And a lot of the beauty of this country has been shattered by them. The physical beauty and the kind of institutional beauty that was originally built into this place - this experiment, this magnificent experiment in democracy is just being shredded to pieces by these right-wing Christians, the Ashcroft branch of Republicanism. (They're) just shredding the rest of the Bill of Rights which hadn't been shredded already. (But) they'd been doing a pretty good job on it up until then, anyway.

Q: Do you feel like this country has progressed any way, shape or form in the past 20 years?

A: Everybody's got more jet skis and Dustbusters now and sneakers with lights in them. They've got more cheese on their thing that they buy. They get double helpings. See, Americans measure all their progress in the wrong way. They measure by quantity and by gizmos and toys. And not by quality and by things that are important.

The most interesting thing to me is that the things that people would seem to have the most right to have - that is to say health, food, shelter and a job are the things that are last on the list. To me, that is fundamental. Those are the things humans most need to function, and we have placed them at the bottom of the list. So I think that says a lot about national character and priorities

See also:

http://www.azcentral.com/ent/front/articles/0124carlin24.html

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
the mass media is a business too George Hex anon w/ encryption Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2004 at 7:01 AM
he's pandering to baby boomers more rational Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2004 at 12:00 PM
Right on Hex GD Sunday, Feb. 29, 2004 at 9:08 AM
They laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian Bob Monkhouse Sunday, Feb. 29, 2004 at 5:33 PM

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