George Carlin was the first big name comedian I interviewed in what has become a career covering comedy. I didn’t even have professional recording equipment at the time – I had a speaker phone and a handheld tape recorder that I placed as close to the speaker as possible. The resulting article was published in the Boston Phoenix, and you can read that here. I interviewed Carlin three times, and always looked forward to speaking with him. The last time was in March, just as his 14th HBO special, It’s Bad For Ya, had premiered. Here’s the transcript of that interview, and the Boston Globe article I wrote about the special.
In my estimation, George Carlin was the most complete stand-up comedian to grace the boards. He was hilarious whether he was offering fiery political or social insight or just making a funny face. His rampaging intellect should be studied by anyone who has any thought of becoming a stand-up comedian. People like to point to Lenny Bruce’s legacy and, rightly so, the barriers he broke through so other comedian could do what they do. In that light, it’s amazing to think that Carlin was arrested in 1972, six years after Bruce’s death, in Milwaukee for performing his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine.
Bruce, Carlin, and Richard Pryor all occupy a special place in the American stand-up tradition, drawing controversy and influencing generations of comedians. What sets Carlin apart is that he remained funny and focused on the comedy until the very end, and those who felt his influence can point to the material he wrote and performed more than the idea of his myth or legacy as inspiration.
I’m saddened that we’ve lost a still-sharp mind, and selfishly, that I won’t get to pick that mind anymore. But one thing that makes me smile today is that, based on a piece from It’s Bad for Ya, there are hundreds of people, maybe thousands, maybe more, who will start to utter the phrase “If there’s anything I can do” to those who knew Carlin in some way, and will have to stop themselves as they remember Carlin’s routine.
If you don’t have a copy of Class Clown or Jammin’ in New York, go find one at the library or a local mom and pop music store. Find that dog-eared VHS copy of Carlin on Campus. Hell, watch Car Wash. Any one of those things should be more effective than reading this. But for the comedy nerds amongst you, here’s that first interview I mentioned. I’ll post a 2002 interview later this week.
I'd like to congratulate you on the HBO special.
This is your eleventh special?
And also on your role in Dogma, opening up at Cannes in a couple of weeks.
Yes, I guess that is not too far off, huh?
It's a couple of weeks. I don't know what the exact date is. About the specials -- you've produced and written most if not all of them.
All of them, yeah. I write all my own stuff, I always have for forty years. Producing my own shows began after the second HBO show was done. From there on, the last nine have been all produced by my company, and I bought the other two. I own all of them, but only nine of them were produced by us.
How much of a difference do you think that makes -- being in a position to produce your own material and release it on your own label?
Well, of course it keeps you calm. You don't have to deal with other people. I own all my own audio -- all my records, I own them. I own all of my videos. We promote all of our own concerts. So that's obviously the ideal position to be in -- just driving the bus all by yourself, and not to have to deal with other people. And the contributions they think they need to make in order to justify their existence. Such as you hear in network television situations, where people speak up because it's their job to just speak up. So you avoid all that.
You're also releasing a box set?
Yeah, Atlantic Records and I together are putting out a box set in the fall, which will have the six albums I did for Little David records, four of which were gold albums -- the first four -- and there were two more. So there were six albums, and we're putting a bonus CD in that's going to have an album's worth of -- not unreleased things from recordings -- it's all old stuff. Stuff from my nightclub days before I was discovered, so to speak, and stuff from my own tape recorder I had home as a child, as a youngster, and things of that nature. Air checks from my disc jockey shows. Curiosities, you might call them.
I know some of those albums have been hard to find, as a fan. I just found "On The Road" this past weekend at a used vinyl shop.
Do you plan to sign anybody else to Eardrum Records?
My partner and I Jerry Hamza own it, and we have always said we were open to that, but we both realize what a commitment in time and energy the care and feeding of an artist requires, in their work and their release. We've had so much to do of our own that we haven't felt the inclination to go ahead and do that. Theoretically it's still open, but we tend to shy away from complicating our lives.
How important is a live audience to you?
It is really the core of what I do. Everything else is secondary. You know, television acting or television performing or movie acting -- those things are kind of sidelines. The central thing I do is to write material for my own performance. And I need to do that obviously for a responsive, or at least a theoretically responsive audience. It's a circular exercise. You know, you put things out and they reward you at different levels of laughter or applause, and the contract is complete. It requires the audience for the whole thing to operate.
That's why the book was interesting to me -- to do the book and have a big selling book opened up for me a whole new world of possibility. That I could sit home, write, and have an audience without having to travel, without having to be somewhere at eight o'clock at night. So it kind of expanded my horizons a bit.
Would you consider doing something like that again?
Oh yeah, the second book is underway. It's called "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops." And it's a follow-up to "Brain Dropping." It's a collection again of varying lengths and varying topics. Some innocent, some kind of sweet and childlike, and others rather strident.
Is there a story behind the name?
No. It's purely an arbitrary sentence that I had written down once that I thought was an interesting sentence. And I realized that it manages to offend all three of the major religions -- Muslims and Jews and Christians alike could find some offense in it. I really just want to see a title like that on the New York Times Best Seller list. I'm dying to see -- you know, right after "Conversations With God" and just before "Chicken Soup for the Soul," "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops."
Are there any plans to reprint the first book, "A Little Brain Damage Can Help?"
Not really, but what I'm doing is borrowing from it for this next book. I have some things in that original book that I still think are interesting or clever or cute or whatever the right word for the individual piece might be. I have reasons to like them. Different reasons. I think there are things in there that I want to use -- to salvage, I'd call it -- and get them to a wider audience, so I'm going to put some of them in the next book. But, no. That artwork and everything -- that book was pretty much a marriage of text and the artwork. Kind of a singular thing.
Kind of like the Bukowski and R. Crumb books?
[laughs] Yeah, well. On a very introductory level.
I haven't been able to track that one down. I was interested in the contents of it.
You mean the "Brain Damage Can Help" book?
It's kind of a standard assortment of my kind of stuff. There's some miscellany, there's something about the dirty words. There are a few short fiction pieces, which are not fully realized fiction, they're just short bursts of things that don't qualify as comedy material, but they're sort of interesting forays into a fictional setting. So some of that will appear in this next one.
Words and language seem to have been a focus point -- not to sound obvious -- but as a particular topic. Who's were the first words you fell in love with, or that you really admired?
My father was -- I didn't know him, he was gone from the picture early. But he was very successful a newspaper space salesman -- the national ad manager of the New York Sun. And he was a highly sought after, as they say, after dinner speaker, and won several big speaking contests in the 1930s. So I inherited from him, and from my mother, a gift for language, both the delivery of it and the appreciation for it. My mother got that from her own father who was a New York City policeman. And he wrote out, longhand, most of the works of Shakespeare during his adult lifetime, simply for the joy it gave him. So there's a great genetic component in this, I'm sure. And then my mother encouraged that, and she was a colorful speaker as well, around the house, in ordinary discourse. She was very colorful, and would do voices and characters to highlight or illustrate something she was telling, and had a great concern and care for language. So that was passed along to me. And a lot of her words and phrases and expressions and things were the first things that caught my ear.
I'm not very well read. I spent my -- The years you're supposed to go to school I spent pretty much fucking off. And I quit school in ninth grade, so I didn't have a kind of planned, arranged introduction to the written word. It was just haphazard. I read a lot of periodicals, and I read a lot of nonfiction. I'm not to well versed in fiction, outside of the things I've learned from hearing other people talk. But it's not a firsthand experience.
You seem better versed in the language than some people who purport to be well read.
Yeah, I cared a lot for it, thank you. I care a lot for it, and I knew it was my key to what I wanted to do in life. I knew I had to become fluent and familiar with and comfortable with all the aspects of speech and language. A lot of it comes to you easily, if you're given that sort of collection of tools -- when you're born, your genetic tool kit. A lot of it comes very easily, and the rest is just pursuit, to look after it and find the things that improve you.
And you've passed that on to your daughter, making films now?
Yeah, well she does a number of things. She's writing some things and performing for, on the Internet, on Comedynet, and is working on a show of her own, as they call it, a one person show. She has written a film with her husband and they continue to do some of that. It's kind of a mixed bag that she's pursuing. Yeah, she has a great taste for language.
Getting back to "Brain Droppings" for just a second -- what's your take on the whole Mike Barnicle affair?
From a distance, and never knowing, of course, who's telling how much of the truth at any time, I assume, given his past run-ins with the paper itself over sourcing and different things, I assume that what seems to have happened is what happened. That he, or someone he counts on, someone he relies on to feed him things, gave him these ten jokes. And they changed them. They changed each joke just a little bit, not so much to disguise it because they weren't disguised, but just to -- I don't know -- maybe make him feel better. But each of the jokes was spoiled or degraded to some extent by the editing they did. I had worked for months and months and months, even if they were just one sentence, to get the sentence just right and take something out that was just a little bit in the way or clunky or whatever. And I had them down, and they just reclunked them, or whatever you want to call it. So that was amusing to me.
I spoke to him when it first broke and I told him, "Listen, I'm not going to be crawling all over you publicly so don't worry about anything from my end. Whatever happened happened." I took him at his word that someone else passed them along to him. And I haven't talked to him since that initial thing.
It seemed strange to me that you were the one person no one seemed to have asked anything about this.
Yeah. Only occasionally does it come up. But no, at the time there was no particular attempt to ask me. I was happy, low profile, because at the time the story about Barnicle broke, the "Brain Droppings" book had been dropping. It was in its last few weeks on the New York Times list and it was down to number eleven, and this incident with him bumped it back up to number seven, and it stayed at eight for a couple of weeks, and then nine. So I got some extra life out of it. And I thought, that's fine. Don't do anything -- just sit here. That's what I did.
The title of course of the new special and CD is "You Are All Diseased." Would you say your material has become more cynical over the years?
Yes. I'm not as comfortable with the word cynical as some. For my money, cynicism is, for instance, is what an automobile manufacturer does when they weigh the cost of paying off the families of people who died thanks to defects in their merchandise against the cost of improving the product. And say it's better if we go ahead and leave it the way it is and just take these law suits and let people die. That, to me, is cynical.
I understand it's also cynical to not believe much in things, and to be on that side of it. I understand the word is valid for both uses, but I think more of myself as highly skeptical, non believing, and that leads into cynical, I know. So I won't really, you know, argue with you much about that. But definitely the work has gotten more so, because the period of time you spend in this culture, is directly proportional to the degree, I guess, of disbelief you have for these beliefs and platitudes. I'm getting lost in my own sentences here, but it's directly proportional to the degree of disenchantment you have with all of these things that are presented to you at an early age as gospel, as iron-clad. These patriotic expressions and sympathies, religious ones, the assumption that certain things are more moral than other things. All of that -- it's just a matter of time before some of that begins to flake off like a bad paint job.
How important would you think anger is in comedy?
Well, this is another word that I probably argue about too much, or maybe haggle over too much. I don't experience it as anger. I experience it more -- and I know it plays as anger, and I know it's fair to call it that. I experience it as discontent and irritation -- milder forms of anger. And of course theatrically things are enhanced on stage because of the need to present them theatrically, and to be a full blast for an auditorium of 2,500.
And then there are times when the way the show is going on a particular night is bothering me, that irritates me, and that feeds a little into the other material, where I'm talking about something in the culture that disturbs me, and the anger of the evening will wrap over into that. So from my standpoint, I think comedy has always represented a kind of discontent and a subversive disbelief and an attempt to overturn and overthrow -- at least for the evening, for a few moments -- to overturn and overthrow the received wisdom and received cultural messages. So there's a good deal of -- These words all bleed over into each other. Anger is a fair one.
What would you think when you would see somebody like Bill Hicks, or a comedian like that?
Well I liked Bill Hicks. First of all it was a personal shame that he had to die young, of course. But outside of that, it was kind of a shame that he didn't get to mature more in these feelings and expressions that he had. Cause I didn't feel it was fully realized yet. I really appreciated what he was doing, but I think the balance of emotion to reason was still being developed in him. I think he might have had more fun later, really sitting down with those feelings and isolating them and putting them into careful sentences and paragraphs. And that's really not a criticism. I know it sounds like lukewarm support, but it's not. I'm just being analytical. I like him a lot and I liked what he was doing.
Do you see your influence in anyone specifically working today?
No, I think you have to be very -- I mean, we're all self-oriented -- but you have to be sort of slipping into that to a bad degree I think to be looking around and noticing stuff. I hear things from people. They'll say "such and such, so and so." And then I hear the person and I think, no, there's no comparison at all. They're just doing what they do. And some of these topics are public domain, some of these attitudes are public domain. I do think in the wrong picture, probably it's true, that my being successful, my finding commercial success with this sort of voice I've had, to varying degrees from the early 1970s, might have encouraged other to follow some of their own feelings more faithfully, rather than to try to conform to something that they originally might have thought was expected of them to be successful. But then they saw that I could do this and maybe they could get away with something, as it were. So I think in that respect, there's probably something. Some of those influences spill over.
What do you think the difference is between you and your stage persona?
Well, there's no difference in the beliefs. There's no difference in the beliefs and the degree of disenchantment. The difference is, on stage, energy is concentrated, a lot of it reads as anger, but basically I don't experience anger in my daily life. I'm like anyone else -- I can get impatient in traffic, and I have some nice things to say. But anger doesn't run my life to any extent that I can see. I'm very even-tempered. Anyone who has worked with me for a day or more, or even been around me for ten minutes -- a fan or anyone -- will tell you that I have a nice nature and that I'm very open and even-tempered. So they're quite different, and one is a performance to make the point.
How much of an influence was Lenny Bruce?
Well, a great deal, as he was to a lot of people. It was the honesty. For me it was his honesty, of being able to open these subjects up for investigation. He was, of course, extremely funny, and had his genius aspects in some areas of what he did. He had a great influence because, as I said about myself, he was doing this. Although he wasn't a big commercial success, he was a cultural success, and he was known and thought well of critically by those who took the time to look at it honestly and not look at it from a frightened and prejudiced perspective. That encouraged me, the doors he's opened, I can walk through them. And it was very encouraging and inspirational in its own way.
He also got me my start. He also got my partner Jack Burns -- by the way Jack and I met at WEZE in Boston in the old Park Square.
I was going to ask you about that.
We actually met when it was still in the Bradford Hotel and then it moved down to Park Square to the Statler building. But Jack and I got our first agent, our big agency -- there was only one, for us there was only one, GAC, they were as big as William Morris in those days. And Lenny Bruce directly got the president of GAC to sign us, based on a performance he saw of ours. So Lenny also had a practical influence, as well as the inspirational side.
Yeah, what do you want to know about Boston? Three months I lasted. I took the mobile news unit to New York. I was out buying drugs, and with my buddies in Harlem, we were in this news unit. I lived up in West Harlem and we used to score in Spanish Harlem. We were out doing that with this news unit with "WEZE news" all over it, and when they finally caught up with me on the phone that weekend, they said there had been a prison break in Walpole, and wanted to know why the unit wasn't there. I told them, "Well, I took it to New York. Listen, we can always cover that Walpole break next month because there'll be another one, sure as hell." Anyway, that was the story, and that was how it ended. It was just a three month job. I was a fish out of water, really. It was a network station, and I was from a rock and roll disc jockey background.
I was wondering why it was such a quick...
Yeah, that was it. And also I cut Cardinal Cushing off in the middle of the fourth sorrowful mystery, when he was reading the rosary once. And that didn't work too well in my favor either.
He had friends in -- well...
In high places!
I didn't mean for that to be a pun. It started --
That's all right. [laughs]
I had read that you had hipped Richard Pryor to Lenny Bruce.
No, I don't remember that. I'm sure by the time I met Richard in 1962 or three he was pretty aware of Lenny by then. I don't know how that might have become a little story.
You've said that you don't like topical humor.
But you've historically commented on politics in your routines.
I do a kind of, less than topical, more like timely. I like to do things that have political impact, but I don't do jokes about current events, is basically what I mean. I don't bother. I have a lot of notes now on Kosovo and Albania, and I have a lot of notes on Colorado now, but I don't go out of my way to put things in my show that are current, because I don't like the discipline it requires to keep them fresh, drop them when they're no longer timely. And you know you can develop a couple of minutes on a topic and really like it -- you have some good jokes, some well crafted stuff that you like and you're proud of. And if you do it too long it has a dated sound, and you have to just drop it and I don't like that. I like running my own game and not having events dictate my game. If a big thing breaks at five o'clock, I don't want to feel under pressure at eight o'clock that night to have something to say about it. Which would happen if I were known for current events. So rather than do that, and weaken my presentation -- cause I like doing a set show -- I just let it go. And I collect them. And sometimes they're useful in the larger sense. A year later there's still some value to talking about teenagers killing each other. Doesn't have to be specifically about Colorado. The thoughts I write down today still have some validity later.
Do you were about the unfortunate timing of something that may hit a nerve?
No, I couldn't wait to get onstage that night with the stuff I'm doing about kids killing each other. I had a thing that was already in place in my show about, "Every time some guy with an AK-47 runs into the schoolyard and kills three or four kids and a couple of teachers, the next day, the school is infested with psychologists and psychiatrists..." So anyway, it goes like that. And I knew it would make them tighten up in their seats and I just couldn't wait to get to that. I love doing that. And it's still valid.
I say -- here's the thing always hear. When kids kill kids, you always hear, well they're desensitized to violence. The video games, the movies, the TV and the rap music and the heavy metal music have desensitized them to violence. And I say, well, if that's true, what do they need all of this fucking counseling for? If they're so desensitized... You know? This counseling shouldn't be necessary.
It's more of that bullshit they give us. Some people have a gene that lets them be more violent than other people, and then it's either reinforced in some way or another at home through the father's behavior or not reinforced, or through associations with other kids, or likenesses, or things that bring it out and enhance it, and then there's further psychic damage for some reason. And then they're able to do something like this. But there are a lot of people out there who have this gene, it's never activated, they are other people out there exposed to all of these influences and they don't have that gene so they're not turned into killers by them.
That's what I love to write about and think about and try to point out. That most everything we hear is bullshit, with a germ of truth in it. And that's what makes it attractive -- the germ of truth. And it's just kind of fun trying to chip away the bullshit. I do it for myself, to tell you the truth. I don't care, the result of my work. Naturally I want to live nicely and have some income, but the main thing is for me to say stuff that I feel good about, that I feel good about saying. So that's my motive, and anything that happens after that -- the money, the fame, and then whatever people personally take from it -- those are all dividends or side effects that I can take or leave.
Do enjoy the reaction, if someone takes issue with something in your act?
Yeah, I do. I like if they holler. You know, I have this thing about businessmen who smoke cigars. Those are not the only ones who are smoking them, but it's an image of the fat, arrogant businessman with the cigar. I go out after them all the time. And occasionally I'll hear some guy in the audience and he'll go [approximates arrogant sounding shout]. Something like that. So I face directly toward him to finish the piece. The finish of the piece is really vitriolic. You know, it has some really nice name calling, and I just do it right in his direction. And I love that. I just really love the confrontational aspect of what I do.
Is there a moment you can remember in "You Are All Diseased" where something similar happened?
No. No I can't. No. Nothing like that in the actual tapings of these shows.
How did you end up in "Dogma?"
Kevin just liked me. He was a big fan of mine -- the director, Kevin Smith, liked my stuff, knows a lot of it from memory, and said when he was writing that part, he was writing it pretty much with me in mind. So, simple process director to performer.
How have people reacted to the "There is no God" routine?
Well, they get kind of quiet, which I like and I expect. But I can tell in key places -- the type of laughter, the quality of the laughter, that they're not completely put off by it.
I'm working in Las Vegas now, and it's quite a different audience, as you can well imagine. It's not as hardcore a fan base audience. It is more peripheral, they are casual type of people. People are interested in you casually. They know about you from a long time ago, they don't really keep up, and they're curious. Then there are some fans in the audience as well. In these kinds of settings, the people who aren't really tried and true with my kind of thinking get tense and they clam up and that has an effect on the others as well. People aren't as willing, in these kinds of settings, to express and expose themselves and their views. In the safety of a dark theater, it's different. And when they're all mostly fans, they're more homogeneous. Then you get more of their honesty -- what laughter should be -- an unexpected expression. Here it's more calculated. They hold back a little. And I expect that and understand it. But I can tell from the applause at the end, and from certain key laughs that they got me, that they're there okay. That they're with me. But they're just not very demonstrative.
What kind of feedback have you gotten in regard to the "Advertising Lullaby" routine vs. the commercial work that you've done?
Well, on the Web page I've had a few complaints, dismay, or whatever. And I've written something I want to put on the Web page as a sort of explanation of defense or whatever you want to call it. I haven't gotten it into its final form yet. It's a kind of first draft, or second maybe. It needs some more attention before I put it up there maybe. So I'm going to put it up there for the sake of those people who could not understand my decision.
What it amounts to, I'll tell you, naturally money is always the reason. In this case the reason the money was important -- I've had a twenty year fight -- this is going to be very shorthand, so it won't be very well flushed out. I've had about a twenty year struggle, is a more appropriate word, with the IRS trying to recover from some horrendous arrears I had around 1980. First of all, at that time, you must also remember that tax rates for my bracket were seventy percent. They dropped then to fifty, and then they've come down since then. But during most of the establishment of this problem I had a very, very high fiscatory tax rate. So I started out with a backlog of unpaid taxes. On top of that of course, there's interest and penalties, which really kill you. And then on top of that, they disallowed, in the couple of years following 1980, they disallowed some previous stuff -- large deductions, one of them for a film I was financing for myself. So, they disallowed it. And another one was the place where my daughter kept her horses. I decided to buy it make it all easier and convenient and we tried to claim that and they would allow that. So that was added to it. And it's been twenty years, believe it or not. The level of income I've been lucky enough to have to get this thing to where it's just about out of my way now.
To bring you up to date on the later part of this struggle: It goes on for twenty years, and of course I'm trying to pay current taxes, as well. Most of them at a fifty percent rate, to take the state of California plus Us -- this is a long explanation, but this is what happened. When you pay fifty percent on your tax, every dollar that comes in, fifty is already gone for that dollar that you earned, and then the other fifty has to go to the back taxes, and you still haven't bought a cheeseburger. So it's a very delicate dance, and it had to be carefully done, and done over the years. And what happened was, my wife died two years ago. And since that time I have met and fallen in love with a woman, and we're planning a future together, and I just decided I didn't want to wait three more years, which was the timetable to pay my shit off, and I didn't want to marry her with this shit over my head, so I said to my partner Jerry, I said, "Get me some kind of commercial or something that's passive income, where I don't have to go out every day to earn it. A windfall -- a piece of windfall income that I can pay these taxes off and get this lean off my house. They had a lean on my house for twenty years, and they were starting to make noises like they were going to come after the house.
So, in order to get out of that, I did these commercials. The saving grace in the commercials, I thought, was the fact that I wrote them myself, I insisted on the look, I insisted no other actors. I didn't want to be in a Tony Danza type of thing, doing sketches. I wanted to be myself, suggesting that I was onstage, in a way, in my own persona, and no graphics, or a minimum of graphics on screen. So I got my way on all that, and I felt pretty clean about doing it in that manner. And it wasn't a big oil company or something. At least it was communication, you know. So that's my story. I'm not real happy that I had to do that, but that's what happened, and I feel okay about it.
And just as a heads up, on the Web site right now, the two fan pages you linked to -- they're not there any more.
Ah, that's what I thought. I haven't been able to -- things have been in my foreground and I haven't really gotten around to tending to my Web page yet. Another reason this thing about the taxes has not gotten up there yet. I'm trying to move after twenty-five years in one house, I'm trying to move out of that, sell the house -- you know, just a lot of shit. I'm doing a speech for the National Press Club in a couple of weeks, and that's occupied a lot of my time. The Web page has been kind of a poor relative. I'll get some time soon, and I'll start monitoring it. It'll be a little more current, I think.
Do you think comedy is too tame these days?
Probably so. You know, it's not a field people set out to spend their lives in. They use it as a stepping stone. I approached it that way myself at the beginning. They see it as a way to get into movies or to get into television, and it works for a lot of people that way, but it's not something someone says, "You know, I'm going to devote my life to developing a stage persona, and an attitude, and I'm going to write in that attitude and in that voice, and become a single comedy performer. It just isn't done. Therefore, using it as a stepping stone tend not to want to offend that much because they're looking for that network deal. This is a little oversimplified but it's about what happens. They just don't want to offend. And I've heard that these comedy clubs -- what's left of them now -- have censored people a lot. No gay jokes, no jokes against women -- all of this kind of stuff.
They want to be the club that broke the guy.
Uh, yeah. I don't really think comedy has any kind of a mission or a life existence of its own. You know, Newsweek always says, "Where's comedy heading?" And that's just bullshit media stuff. It what it is.
And as the logical extension of the routines -- when do you think society will finally collapse?
Ah! Well, I would love to live for a long time so I could just watch this process. I don't know. I guess if they can get every single person in the world with their own Walkman -- I guess if these marketing people, these business guys can expand these markets into these places like Africa and Asia, and all the backwaters so that they're all like we are now, then I think we can really get serious about destroying ourselves. But I think everybody's got to have certain things first. Everybody's got to have a refrigerator. You've got to be comfortable before you go about destroying your own culture.
Like the elephant finding the ground to die?
[Laughs] Yeah, yeah, good.
I'm going to have to run.
That was the last question. I thank you very much for talking to me.
Thank you for all of the intelligence that went into your preparation. I do appreciate that. And I look forward to seeing what the result is.
I'll be sending that to Atlantic Records as soon as it comes out.
Thank you so much.
Okay, and good luck with your work.
Take care. Have a great May. That's all I do is wish people one month at a time.