I’ve had the opportunity to interview some great performers over the years, and George Carlin is certainly among the most prominent of them. Carlin, who is coming to Santa Cruz on Oct. 7, has agreed to a phone interview with me on Friday and, since I assume he does not suffer fools gladly, I’m going to have be at my best.
But what to talk to George Carlin about? Intriguing question. The man has done hundreds of such interviews and finding a fresh approach with him is probably not likely. The interesting thing about Carlin is how he’s been able to become such an enormous success in a culture not very well suited to his caustic sense of humor. He has repeatedly slammed religion in what may be the most religious nation in the world. He’s championed profanity to a culture very queasy about the “seven dirty words.” But still, he’s not only one of the most successful stand-up comedians in history, but a book-publishing juggernaut as well.
I hope to get Carlin to agree to a podcast of his interview with me Friday. But what if the interview is laced with profanities? In the old-media universe, obviously we don’t publish such stuff. But in the new media, what are the standards for unvarnished free speech versus community standards?