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CNN Larry King Live

George Carlin Discusses 'Silly Putty and Napalm'

Aired June 08, 2001 - 21:00   ET



GEORGE CARLIN, COMEDIAN: Takes the cake! You know, say, boy, he really takes the cake. Where? Where do take a cake? To the movies? You know where I would take a cake? Down to the bakery to see the other cakes.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, he's a comedy legend who says just when he discovered the meaning of life, they changed it!

George Carlin for the hour! We'll take your calls. Get ready, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We go back forty years, George Carlin and I, when he used to appear on my radio show and television shows in Miami. The famed comedian writer and actor has the No. 1 book in America, "Silly Putty and Napalm." No. 1 on the "New York -- now No. 2?

CARLIN: "Napalm and Silly Putty."

KING: Oh, the other way around -- I'm sorry.

BLAKE: You've always been correcting me.

CARLIN: I'm a corrector.

KING: They put it down wrong. "Napalm and Silly Putty." Your other book, "Brain Droppings:" 40 weeks on the list.

CARLIN: Forty weeks on the list.

KING: Are you first a writer now?

CARLIN: I'm -- no, I perform, of course.

KING: Are you a writer who performs?

CARLIN: Well now I see myself as a writer who performs his own material, rather than a comedian who writes for himself. And it came as a result of doing the first book and now this one. There's just such a joy in it, to move the words around and, you know, I used to write just for ear, for people to hear and to see on stage. And now you write for the eye and you write something that people can look at again, and over and over and it's going to be there 20 years from now to look at so, you take care with it. My family gave me a real love of language, so I have learned in the later part of my life here -- so far later, I mean it's the middle for me -- that I can write and I love it and I got a little better the last five years, just by doing it.

KING: I want to talk about the book and about lots of things. But first, your impressions of this administration. We are getting a lot of impressions from some of our great comedic minds.

CARLIN: Great comedic minds -- you got one in the White House already, a great comedic mind. George Bush is an imbecile. I mean to me...

KING: He's a what?

CARLIN: An imbecile. It's kind of interesting to me that his mother, her big -- you know the first lady always has to have a charity. Well, what are you going to do? I'll have poor people -- OK, what about you? -- I'll have -- the drapes look bad -- whatever it was.

Apparently this did not apply to her own family, you know. And the interesting thing is, I've got a friend, Herb O'brien, he's a smart guy. Herb calls him Governor Bush because he says that is only office he was ever elected to. That's nice, isn't it? And don't forget, he is Bush second in line. Something happens to Cheney -- bing -- this guy's the president.

That came from Tony Hendren. I take a lot of good lines...

KING: You steal, George?

CARLIN: I don't do political humor. So I do love a line that says everything in a couple words.

KING: How would you describe what you do?

CARLIN: I have three things I draw from -- always have. The English language, like the "takes the cake" thing. I love inspecting and taking apart language, things we say, trendy talk sometimes, old sayings, whatever. And then, the little world, the kind of world Jerry Seinfeld investigated to a great high level. What's in the ice box, how you drive, pets, the things in your life, things we all know.

And then what I call the big issues, but not topical. Not political in the small sense. Genocide, is good, love, you know, hatred, people dying, people getting killed, race

KING: War.


KING: Sports? CARLIN: Anything that is stuff that will never be solved.

KING: Why not political?

CARLIN: Because I don't like topical. I don't mind political if I have something to say, but it's usually topical. Most political humor -- if you are talking about partisan politics, the two parties, that kind of politics, then I don't do it. But the stuff that I do is kind of political anyway, because it's about things that people argue about all the time and about social issues. But I don't like topical humor because you got to throw it away after a couple weeks.

KING: You never hold back. You're critical of religion.

CARLIN: Yes, I don't believe in God, and I think that it is a big scam. You can believe in God, and nobody thinks you're nuts. And there is no evidence for him at all. If you believe in UFO's, no evidence for that either, they think you are nuts. And it is the same kind of -- it's just a belief, it's a superstition.

You say, OK, well there will be an invisible guy, and he will help me when I need it. Fine. I think there is little guys in things flying around, but they say well you can't have that. If you are professor you can't that say.

KING: You grew up strict catholic though, didn't you?

CARLIN: I grew up Catholic with a twist you know, it was a very progressive school. It wasn't like the old.

KING: Oh, really?

CARLIN: No home -- we had a little homework, not much. No report cards of any kind, no quizzes, none of that stuff. This was a progressive school across from Teachers College in Columbia University. And our pastor insisted having no corporal punishment, no one was ever hit in those 8 grades. The kids wore their own clothing -- no uniforms -- and the boys and girls were together in class, and everything was open to discussion. It was called Corpus Christi School. Still does a great job turning out kids who think for themselves and have a little shot you know at having their religion, but still being free people.

KING: Now, let's go back, because we are going cover a lot of bases. When I first met George Carlin and watched you work, you were a straight comic -- suit and tie.

CARLIN: So was the whole world, so was the whole world.

KING: You came out an you did the 20 minutes, the 30 minutes. You used to do disc jockey stuff -- Wonderful Wino. Give me that. Here's what George Carlin used to do.

CARLIN: hey with the big sounds and the big charts and the big tunes guys here, we're here with -- (DISTORTED NOISES) -- (singing): Wonderful Wino. That was a media take off, obviously a D.J. I used to do five, six-minute hunks that were media takeoffs. I did the news, sports, and weather. That is where All Sleet, the Hippy Dippy Weatherman came from -- hey, baby, what's happening -- You know I was a pothead long before it was cool.

And I did movie preview type stuff, quiz show takeoffs, soap operas, anything about the media was kind of what I did in little hunks. In 30 minutes I would do six hunks.

KING: I want to find out in a minute when you got controversial, because I know that you kind of...

CARLIN: I got more personal.

KING: You followed Lenny Bruce.

CARLIN: Lenny was of course a guy for the 50s, and into the 60s. I broke out in the 70s.

KING: Yeah, but middle 60s you caught on, right?

CARLIN: Yes, as a straight and tie, that's when I got hot for the first time as a regular mainstream act, '65.

KING: Had an album.

CARLIN: Had an album, I did, well I did every TV show.

KING: Look at the way he looked, folks.

CARLIN: Look at the guy.

KING: The George Carlin glossy.

CARLIN: Yes, the 8x10. That's a fairly nice shot.

KING: Looked a little like Bobby Darrin.

CARLIN: Bobby and I shared a birthday, if not a month. I think he's a Taurus, you can tell.

KING: You can tell Taruses?

CARLIN: Yes, sometimes I just go off into a strange area and you've got to pull me back.

KING: We'll be right back with George Carlin. The book is "Napalm And Silly Putty."

CARLIN: Thank you.

KING: And don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARLIN: In your own words. People that say that to you? You know when you hear that a lot? In a classroom, or in a courtroom. They will say to you, "Tell us in your own words."

Do you have your own words? Hey, I'm using the ones everybody else has been using. Next time they tell you to say something in your own words say, "nic flot flarney quando floooo."




CARLIN: Another dumb rule I thought was, no singing at the table. Why? No singing at the table! Why? Because I said so. First sign of a dumb rule.


KING: When did you drop the whole beard with the hair and...

CARLIN: When did I grow it?

KING: You still have the beard, but you had the...

CARLIN: Oh,the hair was longer. My hair's gone in and out, you know, long and short, long and short, depending on how bothersome it got. It can be long. When it's long, it can be in your way. So, that was just -- that's a phase. It comes and goes. Doesn't mean anything.

KING: When, George, you really burst was the seven dirty words you can't say on -- the seven words you can't say...

CARLIN: Well, no. It was one album before that. That came -- I sold -- I had a gold album before that album hit. So nobody can hang that on me, that, oh, it was just the dirty words. I was rolling, but it was a big hit.

KING: How did you get that idea of that, to say the seven words you can't say?

CARLIN: Well, because I had spent so much time as a straight suit-and-tie guy, you know, with this leftover '50s was what the '60s -- the early '60s were really nothing but the leftover '50s and nothing really in until the mid-'60s up in Berkeley. And then '67 was the summer of love.

So I was -- I lived through that, and then all the TV I did, you know, they'd want to hear everything. And I didn't want to say anything filthy. It's just that you had to go through all this stuff. And I always was a guy who just thought about stuff, and language especially. So I decided I would take a look at which ones you could never say, because some of them you could say. Like bitch, you could talk about a dog. You could say, well, the bitch is in this litter, the bitch (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You could say bastard. William the Conqueror was a bastard.

But certain words never, and I wanted to know what they were. And I figured out the seven of them and I threw them out in the next package. And they had rhythm, they had a rhythm to it.

KING: Radio stations couldn't play it.

CARLIN: Radio stations, some did play it. And what happened was a station in New York played it. And the FCC -- one complaint, New York City, probably 25 million radios, 25 million radios, one complaint, a professional moralist, a guy from Morals and Media, with his son in the car. And he let the son listen. Apparently, they were not morally corrupted by this act.

But he listened long, he listened to the whole thing, complained to the FCC. They sanctioned the station, WBAI, tried to fine them or give them a black mark. They went to court and they won at the first level. The district court in D.C. they won 2-1. And then they got to the Supreme Court, five years later, and in 1978 the Supreme Court said 5-4 these words were indecent. They made up a whole new category of filth for me. It wasn't obscene -- indecent. And they said you can't play it when kids might listen.

And that's -- that's the rule they have, and they recently finally published the guidelines for it about 20 years later.

KING: You still can't say them?

CARLIN: You still can't say them. And...

KING: You can on HBO.

CARLIN: The only one you can -- yeah, of course, cable is -- ooh, cable was great for my career, because I could -- I could have -- first of all, not just what you can say. You can say everything, you can talk about anything on cable. But there's no interruption, you know, like commercial television every 12 minutes they're coming back. Well, he's -- we're going to sell you some tires, hold on, he'll be right back.

But here, you know, cable you get the flow. So I've got 11 HBOs under my belt. I'm going to do No. 12 come November.

But whatever I was talking about -- I can't remember, but it was really good. It was really good...

KING: Now, Lenny Bruce could have worked today.

CARLIN: Lenny Bruce could have worked unhassled, unharassed...

KING: And they arrested him for...

CARLIN: ... by the Catholic Church...


KING: ... they arrested him for things Eddie Murphy is saying on...

CARLIN: Yeah. Oh, and Lenny would, you know, would have had because he -- he had such grace of thought. You know, he had just an agile, wonderful mind. And he would probe and poke, you know, and he had just a wonderful way -- a genius, of course. But it was just so satisfying to watch. I was a young, aspiring comedian, and then a young comedian, too.

KING: He helped you.

CARLIN: He helped Burns and I. Jack Burns and I had two years together.

KING: You were an act.

CARLIN: Burns and Carlin, we were an act. Burns and Carlin. We did well. We did Parr after seven months in the business. We had an album first year. We did well for two years, Jack Burns and I.

And what happened was we were in a coffee house down not far from here at -- between Hollywood and Sunset on (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And it was a place called the Cosmo Alley, and we were working in this coffee house, first job ever, 1960.

Our manager, Murray Becker (ph), knew Lenny from the Navy, and I used to do an impression of him in the act. So he brought Lenny in to see the impression but hoping Lenny would like us. Lenny called GAC the next day -- that was a big agency; they were like William Morris is today. GAC, the guy, the president of GAC signed us the next day. Well, it took a couple of days to sign.

The next day we got a telegram, they want to sign us (UNINTELLIGIBLE) based on Lenny Bruce's rave reaction. And that started us and that started my own career.

KING: And when we come back, we're going to get George going on lots of topics, from sports to life to his own philosophy of things. We'll also include your phone calls. He's got the No. 1 book in America, "Napalm and Silly Putty." He's George Carlin. Don't go away.


CARLIN: Something else I'm a little tired of hearing about, the baby boomers. Whiny, narcissistic, self-indulgent people with a simple philosophy: "Give me it. It's mine. Give me that. It's mine."

These people were given everything. Everything was handed to them. And they took it all, took it all: sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. And they stayed loaded for 20 years and had a free ride. But now they're staring down the barrel of middle-age burnout and they don't like it. They don't like. So they turn self-righteous and they want to make things hard on younger people.

They tell them abstain from sex, say no to drugs. As for the rock'n'roll, they sold that for television commercials a long time ago so they could buy pasta machines and Stair Masters and soybean futures. Soybean futures.





CARLIN: Swimming! Swimming isn't a sport! Swimming is a way to keep from drowning! That's common sense!


Sailing. Sailing isn't a sport. Sailing is a way to get somewhere. Riding a bus isn't a sport. Why the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) should sailing be a sport?


KING: By the way, the George Carlin collection is available on VHS and DVD from MPI Home Video.

You often compare baseball and football of why baseball is peaceful...

CARLIN: Pastoral, 19th century.

KING: Football is war.

CARLIN: Football is 20th century technological. Baseball is played on a diamond. Football is played on a gridiron. Baseball is played in a park. Football is played in a stadium. Football, you wear a helmet.


CARLIN: ... a few years, and I refined a little bit later.


CARLIN: But it was a whole thing about to drive the team into enemy territory using long bombs and short bullet passes to knock holes in the front line, in the enemy trench. In baseball, the object is to go home and to be safe.


To be safe at home.

I wish I had had the setup for it right.

KING: Boy, you think of those things. It's great the way you came up... CARLIN: I just love looking at language. My family gave me back, genetically and a little bit of reinforcement.

KING: He referred to it earlier, I want to show it to you now, a wonderful (UNINTELLIGIBLE). This was the weatherman on television.

CARLIN: Al Sleet.

KING: Al Sleet. Watch this, folks. This is early George Carlin.

CARLIN: Early.

KING: Watch.


CARLIN: I'd like to apologize for the weather, especially to the former residents of Rogers, Oklahoma.


Caught them napping.


I see the radar tonight is picking up a line of thundershowers, which extends from a point 9 miles south-southeast of Chester, Pennsylvania a along line and 6 miles either side of a line to a point 8 miles north-northeast of (UNINTELLIGIBLE), New Jersey.

However, the radar is also picking up a squadron of Russian ICBMs.


So I wouldn't sweat the thundershowers.



KING: You got Carson on the floor.

CARLIN: When he disappears from view, you know you are doing all right.

KING: The hippy-dippy weatherman.

CARLIN: Al Sleet, the hippy-dippy weatherman. He -- that was a rather restrained version, because he was really out of it later, when he would say: "Tonight, the weather, you notice, is dominated by a large -- large -- Canadian -- sorry, Canadian low, which is not to be confused with a Mexican high." He was a pothead, and kind of like nobody knew that during the show. KING: You have said -- I'm going to figure out some things -- that even in "Napalm and Silly Putty," you think Americans are getting stupider.

CARLIN: Yeah, I think -- I think the way the education system works, it's just indoctrination. They are just produce little consumers of goods and producers of goods. And now they educate to the test, I mean, you know, just to pass the test, not the love of knowledge and not...

KING: Study to pass the test.

CARLIN: Yeah. I think Americans are -- you hear politicians say this, they love to roll this one out, a couple times a week -- American people are a lot smarter than they are given credit for. And I think it's exactly the opposite. They are a lot stupider than they are given credit for, they really are.

You know, you just look at them on the street, you say, jeez, you know -- and stuff they do, the stuff they buy! All the care about is getting a salad shooter, getting sneakers with lights in them, that's a big thing. Somebody got a jet ski, you got to get a jet ski! It's dumb. You know, they should develop their minds and their...

KING: Well, how did that happen?

CARLIN: Because everything is commercial, everything is to sell something now. The whole world -- they are going to, sooner or later, people are going to be born in this country, they are going to have a bar code. They tattoo a bar code on your arm when you are born, and maybe put a chip in your head, and track you your whole life. I'll bet you could get your kid, you sell a logo to tattoo on his forehead, $50,000 college for your college education, Coca-Cola comes off in 20 years. You know, it just fades way.

I bet you they can do it. You could sell -- you know what you could probably sell in this country? Fried chicken heads. Just heads. Because they would buy it. They would say: "How much is that? $1, oh, get two, get one for me. People are stupid. They don't know -- they don't think about anything.

KING: We'll be right back with George Carlin, we will be including your phone calls. This is LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away.


CARLIN: Now, there is one thing you might have noticed I don't complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents, and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens.

This is the best we can do, folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces. Garbage in, garbage out!




CARLIN: Fine and dandy. That's an old-fashioned one. Say to a guy, "How are you?" He says, "fine and dandy." Not me. I never say that. You know how come? Because I'm never both of those things at the same time. Sometimes I'm fine, not dandy.


KING: Can't hear it. OK, we lost sound somewhere.

CARLIN: And that was a good piece too, Larry.

KING: That was a good piece, George.

CARLIN: God, we missed that one.

KING: I don't know what happened.

CARLIN: It will be on later on someone else's show.

KING: OK. We will roll it later. It was...

CARLIN: Fine and dandy.

KING: Who do we blame for that? We got to blame someone. The media?

CARLIN: That is actually a National Security Agency, Larry, those people in Maryland, Fort Detrick, Maryland.

KING: They cut that off.

CARLIN: That's right. Because they knew I was going to reveal...

KING: What do you make of all this fuss about the greatest generation, Brokaw, World War II, the guys who fought?

CARLIN: Yeah. You know what? We can't leave anybody alone who is dead in this country. You've got to have a fence somewhere with teddy bears on it and ribbons. You ever notice this? We got to have a war building, we got to have a war -- Vietnam -- everybody's war, they want one.


KING: But it makes you feel...

CARLIN: Yeah, well, it makes you feel like people got killed, you know. I mean, the Civil War, you can't go to any place without a Civil War thing. Leave these people alone! Leave these people alone, you know! I mean, this stuff, the fence -- well, we've got to have more -- let's have another war so we can have more dead people, and we will make a new memorial! It's just stupid, it's crazy. I understand you want to grieve a little, fine, keep it at home.

This stuff in the street, John F. Kennedy Jr., oh we are going to light a candle, make a wish, going to write a poem, it's supersentimental kitsch, it's emotional kitsch, and I don't care for it personally. Leave these dead people alone! They are gone, that the point of being dead. I'm gone, leave me alone! I'll bet if you asked them, they would go, we need a memorial. I'll bet you, they would say we need a memorial. That's my feeling.

KING: Capital punishment.

CARLIN: You know what? We don't have the courage of our convictions in this country. People want everybody to, you know, go kill a guy, go kill the guy, what you should do is make a little entertainment, make some money on this thing, you can pay down the Social Security, you save.

KING: How?

CARLIN: Well, here is what you do. For instance, you get 500 guys who were condemned, you hold them up, you keep -- you save them, and you electrocute them all in one room at the same time, different chairs. You charge money. Budweiser would sponsor this in a minute.

Here's another thing. You got the electric chair? Why not find guys the electric couch? You put a coffee table, and you've got some cheese doodles, whatever they like. Here's one: a couple kills their kid -- sorry about that, but stuff happens, it happens -- an electric loveseat, you put them together, and they got to kiss just before the switch goes.

We don't use our imaginations. I'll bet you you could 200 depressed people in this country to hold hands and jump into the Grand Canyon, just for suicide, mass suicide for money, and you pay down Social Security, and you take care of our problems, Larry.

KING: You, you...

CARLIN: And I don't think...

KING: You mock us!

CARLIN: I don't think they should kill a guy. You know, like Jeffrey Dahmer, I'm going to give you -- I'll leave off the one that's real hot now.

KING: McVeigh.

CARLIN: But, yeah, because you guys are covering that and everything, Warner Brothers.

KING: You think that's overdone? CARLIN: Of course. Listen, here is what you do with guys like Jeffrey Dahmer, et cetera. You give them a warning, it's like a traffic ticket. You give them a warning. You say, listen, Jeff, not funny, nobody is amused. Stop calling attention to yourself. You eat one more Cambodian teenager head, and it's going to mean a stiff fine.

KING: That's some punishment.

CARLIN: You scare the guy, you scare the guy. You give him a break, you know.

KING: Bring a threat to him.

CARLIN: But you threaten them, and you'd be surprised, sometimes all a guy needs is a good talking-to. It's true. It's true. People don't -- they laugh.

KING: George Carlin's book is "Napalm and Silly Putty." We are going to talk about Brooklyn and growing up and other things George thinks about things, and more on language. And we're going to take your phone calls. His book, "Napalm and Silly Putty," is No. 1 on the "New York Times" best-seller list. He is a genius at what he does. Don't go away.


CARLIN: Fine and dandy. That's an old-fashioned one. Say to a guy: "How are you?" He says, "fine and dandy." Not me. I never say that. You know how come? Because I'm never both of those things at the same time. Sometimes I'm fine, not dandy. Close to dandy, approaching dandy, in the vicinity of dandyhood, not quite fully dandy. Other times, I am indeed highly dandy.




CARLIN: "More than happy." I bet you say that sometimes, don't you? Once in a while you say to somebody, "Oh, I'd be more than happy to do that." How can you be more than happy? To me, this sounds like a dangerous mental condition.

We have to put Dave in mental home. He was -- more than happy.



KING: That's funny stuff. Let's take some calls for George Carlin, Huntsville, Alabama, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Mr. Carlin, I think you're fabulous.

CARLIN: Hi, Bama, how are you doing? CALLER: Doing good. I was actually -- I had a question. I have seen a couple of your HBO specials, and I was wondering about your views on Christianity, since you were kind of, you know, tossed around whether Jesus actually existed and, you know, all that kind of fun stuff. So I actually wanted to know if you truly are Atheist.

CARLIN: Well, Atheism is a belief, so I'm not an atheist, because that's something you have to believe.

KING: It also makes a definitive statement. There is -- what are you, an agnostic?

CARLIN: Not -- well, you know, somebody would define me that way, but I don't think it's important enough to know the distinction.

KING: What do you call yourself?

CARLIN: I'm just a person who thinks someday you could find out, and I would know, that whoever was there judging me, and I'm sure there's no one like that, but if there was someone judging me, I'd be fine. So I don't even think about -- you know, my brother calls it the big electron. Just the big electron, something's humming. That's all you need, is a good hum. A good -- I don't mean the bad kind. Just a good hum. So, I think Jesus probably lived. He's probably an alive guy, but -- I have an interview with him in my book, by the way. You want to read that, because he tells everything. You know, they ask him is there a heaven? He says, not only is there a heaven. We've got heck. Heck and hell.

KING: Heaven, heck and hell? What's heck?

CARLIN: Heck is not as bad as hell. It's similar.


KING: To Hartsdale, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hi George, hello.


KING: How are you?

CALLER: I'm always amazed that you get better and better over the years. I've seen your show many times.

CARLIN: Thank you, sir.

CALLER: And I'd like to ask you, don't you think the reason why so many people in this country are stupid is because corporate America owns everything? They own the politicians, they own all of these networks, and they want us to be stupid to buy the products. That's why, for example, black kids get half the money spent on their educations in this country as white kids, and Henry Kissinger goes on shows and is treated as something other than a Nazi. I don't understand what kind of a country we're living in. KING: Strong opinion.

CARLIN: You made good point that -- and I forget that aspect of my answer earlier, and that is the reason -- it's in someone's interest, somewhere down the line it's in someone's interest that the population be minimally intelligent, not too analytical about their own situation, not too worried about ideas and looking under surface. Just kind of -- they know how to add, they can do the cost analysis sheets for us. That's all we need them to do. That's my theory.

KING: What did John Kennedy say, that most people want a kind king.

CARLIN: Yeah. Right, yeah, just leave me alone. Don't be riding through my living room with a horse.

KING: Do you hate celebritydom?

CARLIN: I don't participate in it. I'm well-known, I'm high profile. People see me, they know me, and I love it because it's like having an extended family. But I don't participate in the mystique of being a celebrity or anything. It's a fact of my life that I'm recognized, but outside of that, I'm real nice to people.

KING: What do you think of tabloids and our phenomenal interest in all that?

CARLIN: Oh, it's fun. It's fun.

KING: Don't matter what they print.

CARLIN: Well, you know, celebrities -- it's like, there's got to be something to make people relieve from their lives. That's what the shopping is, too. Shopping is a way for people to feel like they have power.

Well, maybe we'll buy the green one. No, no, I think the blue one's better. They feel like they have power. No, we're not going to buy it today at all, thank you very much. So they feel like they have some power, which they really don't have. And the same thing is true of celebrityhood. They see someone else and say, well, he's got all the money in the world and his life really sucks. Look, his wife killed their kid with a hat pin. What is -- you know, he's got all that money. I guess he's not happy. I'm glad I have no money.

You know, it's kind of like that. It's a little oversimple, what I said, but it's like that. Something like that.


KING: Dallas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, George, how are you?

CARLIN: How are you doing there? CALLER: OK. I enjoy your work.

CARLIN: Thank you.

CALLER: And my question is: What one life lesson do you know now that you wish you knew 20 years ago?

CARLIN: Boy, I never have any kind of good answer for that stuff, because I really enjoyed every minute, even the stuff I did that wasn't in my own interest.

KING: Really?

CARLIN: Yeah, sure,

KING: With drugs, or...

CARLIN: I used a lot of cocaine, and man, it was fun.

KING: You hosted "Saturday Night Live." You were the first host.

CARLIN: I was loaded.

KING: You were stoned.

CARLIN: That whole week. I don't remember a lot. I knew they had people. I knew they had people, they'd move around, they'd go like that. I thought, well, this is OK.

And I was there, but that's all.

KING: But you don't resent that.

CARLIN: I don't regret.

KING: You don't regret?

CARLIN: Nothing. There's nothing I would ever change about my life, except I would have started it 100 years sooner and kept it going 100 years extra.

KING: You had a great marriage. Your wife passed away.

CARLIN: Brenda and I were a long-term marriage, yep, and Brenda died in 1997. There's a woman in my life now, has been for the last three years, Sally Wade. And Sally is just fantastic. She's smart and funny and great-looking. And she and I have this thing where we kind of like inhabit a bubble, and we just kind of -- we just -- it's like the whole universe is ours. It's a wonderful feeling.

KING: And at the American Comedy Awards, which we attended, the wife and I, George Slaughter and his great production, you were honored as the...

CARLIN: As the lifetime achievement, which I told them, this is a down payment. This is part one, because I'm only 64, which is 17 Celsius, by the way, Larry. In Canada I'm a late teenager.

KING: So you put your years into Celsius.

CARLIN: Celsius. Well, I don't mind 64, but I like to go, no, I'm also 17.

KING: It's a good way to look at things.

CARLIN: Yeah. I'm also 2. You know, you're everything you ever were, when you think about it. You're still 21, you're still 45. You're still 18, you're still 2, because you did that and it's there. They can't take it away. You're still 2, you're still 2. You just don't show it as much. That's my theory.

KING: That's a good way to put it. In other words, you're still a little boy in there.

CARLIN: Oh, got to be. He's king of the whole place. He's king of the whole place. He's just lucky he's got an adult, knows how to drive.


CARLIN: You know?

KING: We'll be right back with George Carlin. Don't go away.


CARLIN: I think God may not be perfect. I think his work shows that.


CARLIN: Take a look at a mountain range. They're all crooked, they're never in line. All different sizes, there are no two leaves the same. He can't even give two people the same fingerprints.


CARLIN: He's had billions of years to work on this stuff. And everything he has ever made -- died!

Everything, so far! So far.





CARLIN: Down the tubes -- hear that one a lot. People say, "Ah, the country is going down the tubes."

What tubes? Have you seen any tubes? Where are these tubes? And where do they go? And how come there's more than one tube?


CARLIN: It would seem to me, one country, one tube. But is every state all of a sudden have to have its own tube now? One tube is all you need. But a tube that big? Somebody would have seen it by now.


KING: Some great questions previously asked by George Carlin: if the police never find it, is it still a clue? Whom does a male ladybug dance with? Excellent questions. Tell me about Brooklyn. Now, you are from Brooklyn.

CARLIN: I'm from Manhattan.

KING: You're from Manhattan, yeah. But you were a Dodger?

CARLIN: Yeah. I was the only kid in my neighborhood like that, the only kid with that little infection. I just always liked to be against the tide. I never liked being like everybody else.

KING: So, you weren't a Yankee or a Giant?

CARLIN: No, and I live about 30 blocks -- exactly 30 blocks from Polo grounds, so of course, Yankee stadium right across the street. All the guys in my neighborhood Yankees fans and Giants fans, and I am a Dodger fan. They hated me. And every fall it would horrible, because the Yankees would win the series.

I -- my favorite story -- not story -- my favorite incident, I saw it, I was there the night -- with Teddy Dibble (ph) -- my buddy Teddy Dibble (ph) and I, we went and we saw them play the Boston Braves. Billy Southworth was the manager. Sid Gordon was the third baseman. And we snuck down behind the dug-outs late, you know, at seventh inning, from our grandstand seat.

That was the night Gil Hodges hit four home-runs, and Erskine, the pitcher, went five for six, and on Hodges, on the fourth home-run -- I swear to you this is true -- he probably had been up six times by then, he had three home-runs -- he came up again -- because they won 22 to something, 22 to three or something, it was great.

But he came up, and everybody was pulling for him, pulling for him, it looks like at last that bat is going to get, certainly not going to be extra innings, and it's the ninth inning, and hits a long -- because he is right-handed -- he hit a long foul ball home-run left field. Oh, he could have had it, he could have had it. Then, a couple pitches or whatever, he hits a long -- he got out in front of one -- he hit a long foul ball to right field, just foul. Home-run, too.

And then he did it. He hit one not straightaway center, but hit one center-left-center. It was great. We got four autographs that night. KING: Really?

CARLIN: I got Pee Wee Reese's autograph, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, everybody.

KING: Boy, that's great. I remember the game.

CARLIN: So, the next day, Teddy and I go back to the ballpark. Hey, this is fun! One to nothing. I hated pitchers' duals.

KING: Georgetown, Texas for our man George Carlin, hello.

CALLER: Hi, George, from Georgetown, Texas.

CARLIN: How are you doing there?

CALLER: I'm doing just fine.


CALLER: Hey, could you give us that little bit about the cats, you know, when a cat bumps into the wall.


KING: What was that?

CARLIN: This is -- this is -- I used this in the book, by the way, I used the cats and some of the cats and dog stuff in the book, because I like it so much, and so many people mention it.

A cat does not accept blame for anything. A cat will not show embarrassment. If a cat does something stupid, you know, like running across the carpet and hitting a glass door that didn't know it was closed, it will go like this, it will go: "I meant that. I meant that. I meant that. That is exactly what I wanted to do."

Like a dog and cat, the difference is...

KING: Dogs are dumb.

CARLIN: Well, but -- no, I don't think that, but a cat will show no guilt. If a dog knocks over a lamp, you look at the dog, you know he did it. His behavior is like this, you know. A cat goes: "What's that? Lamp? Ask the dog, not me." You know, they -- they are great.

But I'm a dog guy too. We've got a dog called Goofy. We got a dog called Goofy. Wouldn't it be fun to name a kid Goofy, just to see what happened to him? If you have a son, name him Goofy, tell him it's a nice name, forget it, see what happens in his life.

KING: Dayton, Ohio, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.

KING: Hi. CALLER: George, you always make me feel dandy.

CARLIN: Oh, good, thank you very much.

CALLER: My question is, I would like your opinion on comics like Gallagher who base their comedy routines on ideas that you originated.

CARLIN: Well, you know, I don't know that I ever noticed that about his comedy, or heard anyone say that. I think I would have to know the kind of specifics. You know, there is a lot of people sitting around -- aren't as many as there are steel workers, for instance -- but a lot of people sitting around trying to be funny and make up things, and there is a lot of parallel thinking, so I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

KING: I'll tell who you know is funny, Louis Black, right?

CARLIN: Louis Black is great. And so is Mitch Hedberg. But you mentioned Louis because he was at some affair you guys did the other night.


KING: ... foundation.

CARLIN: Louis Black is just great. I met him again -- I met him several times, but I saw -- I met his folks at the Comedy Awards, and Louis is smart.

KING: And he is like you in that he is angry, angry at everything.

CARLIN: Yeah, yeah, well...

KING: You're angry.

CARLIN: I'm not angry.

KING: Come on.

CARLIN: ... in my life. Not in my life, Larry. There is not a person can tell you they were with me more than five, 10 minutes, ever saw an angry moment out of me. What I have is a dissatisfaction with things.

KING: But Louis has that.

CARLIN: Yeah, it's the dissatisfaction with the reality that has been produced by humans and by this country's culture. So, it is that dissatisfaction on stage that plays like anger, because you heighten things up for the stage, you know, you exaggerate things because that is what makes them theatrical and funnier, but I'm a happy guy, man, happy as can be.

But I'll mention that other comic again, Mitch Hedberg, smart man. He is like Steven Wright who has been hit in the head four times with a tire iron, is just -- you know, interesting and weird, he goes, over here.

KING: Steven Wright.

CARLIN: I love Steven Wright.

KING: Steven Wright is...

CARLIN: Absolutely wonderful. He probably had a couple whacks with something, a tire iron or a bowling trophy. Something got him.

KING: Steven Wright who said he once bought a package of instant water, what do you mix it with?

CARLIN: Right.

KING: We'll be right back, don't go away.


CARLIN: Another abomination: white guys over 10 years of age who wear their baseball hats backwards. Listen to me. White guys, let me tell you something: you are never going to be as cool as black guys. Not going to happen. You are white, and you are lame. It's a law of nature. Turning your hat around and learning a complicated handshake will not make you cool.

And you black guys, since you started the whole thing, I'm going to let you stay with the hats a little bit longer, but I think really, once you qualify for Social Security, it's time to spin that around to the front of you.




CARLIN: I know what it is that bothers me about that whole thing, it's the word "mice." It's just a weak word. Doesn't have a lot of character, you know. Nice, isn't he nice, oh he is so nice. And she's nice too. Isn't that nice, how nice they are? I don't care for that, you know. It's like "fine." There is another word. How are you? Fine.


KING: George's next special, November 17 on HBO. What are you calling it?

CARLIN: I kind of like it when a lot of people die.


CARLIN: I enjoy big disasters, and big things.

KING: You mentioned you don't like memorials and you don't like...


KING: ... how do you feel about the unknown soldier, then?

CARLIN: The unknown soldier, you know what's interesting about him? First of all, there happens to be another one -- there's one the French have one, the Canadians and the English. All those unknown soldiers, they all knew each other. People didn't know that.

And here's another thing: there's actually -- you know what -- there is actually a well-known soldier, but you know? Nobody knows about him. Which is interesting, because nobody knows about the well- known soldier, and everybody knows the unknown soldier. How did they do that? They did that to us. And there is also, by the way, a well- known but poorly understood soldier, people just didn't get along with him. He is there.

KING: People don't know this, you served your country. You were in the Air Force.

CARLIN: I kept the peace.

KING: That's right, between wars, right?

CARLIN: The Russian hierarchy, apparently they saw what was happening. They messed with us in Korea, when I was underage. As soon as I get old enough -- bing -- peace. See this -- bing -- peace. This is what scared them. This is what scared them, a picture like that. And then, after I get out -- Vietnam -- they come right back at us. They left us alone when I'm in there, they said hey, this guy, don't fool with him.

KING: And you also had heart problems.

CARLIN: I've had three heart attacks. One was a minor little baby thing you wouldn't even bother with except I knew about jaw pain at that time. And then I had a nice big one, and a good one in 1982, that is when I had my first angioplasty, just before that Carnegie Hall show, that green one they saw there. And then I had one nine years later and I have been clean since, and I have had a lot of angioplasties, never a bypass, because it makes you goofy.

KING: I had a bypass.

CARLIN: Did you? It makes you goofy, Larry, it makes you goofy.

KING: You forget things though.

CARLIN: But you know what? What's the difference -- there's a lot of things not worth knowing.

KING: San Diego, hello.

CALLER: Yes, I know of a physician in New Jersey, who seriously approached you about running for president of the United States. I would like to know how you feel about that or do a lot of people ask you that?

KING: Would you would ever be interested in politics?

CARLIN: No, no. It is a wonderful fantasy thought for a person to say that to you, and it is obviously a compliment, you know, in different clothing. But, no. Look at the people you have to hang out with just to get going.

It's like golf. I would never play that. The game is probably interesting, to try to put a ball in the hole is maybe fun, but it is these people you have to go and hang around -- golfers -- the rest of them, the rest of them. These dorks in hats and checkered pants. You don't want to be near these people. And they all walk around -- they hit ball, they have a crooked stick, first of all, a crooked stick, hit a ball, walk after it, hit it again.

I say pick it up, put it in your pocket, go home, You're lucky you found it the first time, you know. They don't think of these things.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with George Carlin. Tomorrow night we'll have a compendium of our interviews with Anthony Quinn. Sir Paul McCartney Tuesday night. We'll be right back.


CARLIN: Then finally we come to golf. Do you ever watch golf on TV? It's like watching flies (UNINTELLIGIBLE) . I get more excited picking out socks. Golf could be fun if you could play alone. But it's these genetic defectives that you have to hang around with that makes it such a boring pastime. Think of the brains that it takes to play golf. Hitting a ball with crooked stick, and then walking after it.

And then hitting it again. I say pick it up, you are lucky found it. Put it in your pocket and go home, will you!


KING: Tuesday night on Larry King live, his songs have told his life story to generations. Now here him tell it himself. An exclusive interview with music legend Paul McCartney Tuesday on CNN.

We're back with George Carlin. Are you thrilled about the No. 1 book? I mean think about it.

CARLIN: Yes, of course, I only wanted one week at it. I think it went to two it will go to two after that, but that is all I wanted was one week and I got it already at the framers, you know. Because I only had nine years of school. I mean, I quit -- it wasn't their fault -- I quit because they weren't teaching what I needed.

KING: You quit after ninth grade?

CARLIN: At the ninth grade I quit and it's kind of nice because that's, you know, "The New York Times," you know, that is their world, and I was in my little...

KING: What did do you when you quit school?

CARLIN: I worked at Western Union for a year in the plant and engineering department as a junior clerk, and then at 17 I went in the Air Force because that is what I wanted, that's why I quit school -- get in get out get my life started. I knew what I was going to do knew, I knew how I was going to do it, I just needed to get out.

KING: You knew you would be comedian?

CARLIN: I knew that. That was my plan from the time I was a little kid, but I had a real plan when I was 11, to first be a disk jockey then be a comedian, and then try to be like Danny Kaye. That was kind of like my dream then. You know, dreams change a little, but the comedy part there, the first two worked out great.

KING: Why didn't you follow up more on your acting career? You were in "Prince of Tides"

CARLIN: It's not satisfying. There is nothing like getting out there all by yourself, and doing things you wrote and you thought of. To act someone else's lines, and wait around all day, and they -- gotta do it again, the light flashed -- you know -- that was the best one I did, I know but a truck ran by -- something, you know. Who wants to live like that? Me, I go, badaboom, this is it, I'll see you later.

KING: Do you test your material anywhere?

CARLIN: Not really. I'm working at the Comedy Store here in L.A. this month to stay in shape. It happens I'm doing some new things that I'm playing with, but I don't care about the audience reaction because I know what's going to work, pretty much, 95 percent, and I will just take out that 5 percent on my own, because it will be soft.

KING: When it doesn't work are you always surprised?

CARLIN: If it's a line in the middle of 6 lines that work it doesn't bother me. No, I'm not really surprised. Sometimes they surprise you the other way. You think, hey, that got a big laugh. I thought it was a just a buildup line.

KING: George, after all these years it's still great just talking to you.

CARLIN: LARRY KING LIVE. You ought to change your last name officially, legally to LARRY KING LIVE and then on the weekend you could have an alias. You could be LARRY KING WEEKEND. Nobody would know. He'd be all secret.

KING: Thank you, George. Stay well.

CARLIN: Thank you, Larry. KING: Take a cold shower. For Tuesday's exclusive interview with Paul McCartney, send in your questions early to my Web site -- I love this -- I love saying that. You have a Web site, George?

CARLIN: I have a Web site but I got dots, no slashes.

KING: Oh, I have slashes, you have dots. I don't know what either one means.


KING: OK. Tomorrow night we'll have a retrospective on the career of the late, great Anthony Quinn, Monday night of course we will follow up on the McVeigh execution due for Monday morning and Tuesday, Sir Paul McCartney. Have a great weekend. For George Carlin the whole crew here in Los Angeles, thanks for joining us. Stay tuned for CNN TONIGHT an good night.