The Playboy Interview With George Carlin

I’m sure you missed this interview with George Carlin, which took place back in 1982. I was three years old at the time. Here are the highlights:

It’s the American view that everything has to keep climbing: productivity, profits, even comedy. No time for reflection. No time to contract before another expansion. No time to grow up. No time to fuck up. No time to learn from your mistakes. But that notion goes against nature, which is cyclical.


…there are some decent star fuckers, but they all want to fuck musicians and movie actors. To be a comedian fucker is like being a juggler fucker. Can you imagine a girl who wants to fuck only the opening act? It’s like watching an animal trainer and then wanting to fuck the chimp.


There’s a thrill when you steal something in plain view of other people. When you drop a newspaper over a sign and walk away with it, or take something off a wall and the sound of the glue ripping makes people turn around. Your heart is racing, it’s a rush.


I did a lot of dating.… Well, dating may not be exactly the right word for it. Trying to get laid is a little more accurate. And please notice the word trying. I always wanted and enjoyed sex, but I never put much importance on scoring or having an athletic sex life. I guess I define myself more by my career and my commitment to a relationship than by my ability to have a lot of chicks or achieve ten orgasms in an evening.


I don’t like the phrase shock value. Surprise is essential in comedy, and if people are shocked by what I consider merely surprising, then that’s their shock.


But personally, emotionally, I’d rather divorce myself from the world than face the heartbreak of partial success. Because partial success implies overwhelming failure.


People become performers for many reasons. Some do it to get a lot of pussy—and that’s a good reason. Some want a bigger car. Other guys want to travel. My reason has always been that I was screaming to let all this shit out of me.


When I see blacks and women wanting to gain their freedom so they can become corporation executives, I realize that the situation is hopeless. What’s the good of having freedom if you then willingly go off and become a slave to an amoral institution? It’s especially depressing to see blacks wanting to dive into the mainstream of American commercial life. They come from a magnificent African culture based on aesthetics, and now they all want to become fort builders like the vicious people who originally enslaved them.

The interview is over a dozen pages long. Compare that to the softball interviews they give celebrities these days where the point is to offer Disney-esque anecdotes in between promoting the latest movie or album. With all our mega-stars firmly shielded by publicists,  it’s becoming increasingly rare to know the men behind the art.

7 thoughts on “The Playboy Interview With George Carlin”

  1. I love Carlin’s commentary on the viciousness of modern society, on societies warlike ways, on the nihilistic, amoral trends that are destroying society.
    One of the best things about him is that he realised politics is a mechanism for the powerful to fuck the every day and unlike most modern celebrities and comedians didn’t obsess over elections and political personalities as a for e for good. He was a brilliant observer of society.
    He was a genius, RIP.

  2. Interesting how even such a bright guy would pedestalize women, like in his most famous video against religion.

  3. I never really got Carlin. He’s just not very funny. His routines are more like rants. The audience claps because they agree, not because it’s funny. The rants aren’t even that much better than your tipsy uncle going off at the dinner table.

  4. Wasn’t Playboy back then known for these kinds of in-depth interviews with interesting people? I wish there was an equivalent now. While there’s a much wider expanse of media, it doesn’t feel as if there’s more depth.
    Maybe that has to do more with the readers than the publishers. Does anybody have the attention span for a lengthy interview like this anymore?
    But, to be honest, I think it’s the medium more than the people. For instance, I don’t have a Kindle. I read a lot. But I almost never read online articles that are longer than 1,000 words. The nature of the Internet leans towards speed over consideration.

    1. Yup, Playboy interviews were nearly always known for being terrific. It didn’t much matter who it was – though they did a good job picking people worth talking to.

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