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George Carlin: Enjoying 'the freak show'

By Stephanie Snipes
CNN

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(CNN) -- Comedian George Carlin was launched into the upper echelon of humorists in the '70s by uttering seven words -- seven dirty words, to be exact. At 67 he still tells it like it is, which keeps censors (and other folks in positions of power) on their toes.

Carlin releases his third book, "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?," this fall, and in 2005 his 13th HBO comedy special will air.

In the new film "Jersey Girl," Carlin plays Bart Trinke, a father who helps raise his granddaughter after his widowed son (Ben Affleck) moves home. "Jersey Girl," directed by Kevin Smith, marks Carlin's biggest film role to date.

Carlin sat down with CNN to discuss his career.

CNN: Why did you decide to do this film?

GEORGE CARLIN: I did two movies with Kevin Smith. He told me he wrote another part for me, that was with my voice in mind, written for me. And I had told him some time ago that I was interested in doing more interesting things in movies. ... I could see that it was worth doing because it was an acting part not a show-up-and-be-a-comedian part.

CNN: Do you consider yourself a comedian or writer?

CARLIN: I'm a writer. And I perform some of my writings. Every now and then, there's a nice acting thing to do and it's different. ... It's collaborative, and I like it. It shows a little different part of me, I get to show off parts of me that people don't expect to see.

CNN: What is your favorite part of being a comedian?

CARLIN: What I became a comedian for was to get my art out. To get some of these feelings and things I had on my chest out. I don't care if people believe them, listen to them, change their ways, or think, or any of that kind of crap. I'm interested in showing off. I'm the same kid from sixth grade who stood up and said "watch this."

CNN: What makes you so successful?

CARLIN: Hanging in and producing a lot of work. But I've been lucky, I have this kind of prolific side, you know. I don't know, it probably came from my mother and father, who were very funny and smart and word-conscious, and these things mostly are genetic. It could be my grandmother's milkman for all we know.

CNN: Why do you think you have such a young audience?

CARLIN: Young people like a defiant tone. They like someone who's questioning things and saying "[Expletive] you, dad." So basically, I've always been saying that, and therefore I kind of draw these new younger audiences.

CNN: Are you still considering doing a Broadway show?

CARLIN: Yeah, there's a one-man, one-person -- who knows what to call it -- show that I'd like to do some day and I will. But a real Broadway show, not this kind of thing HBO says "Robin Williams on Broadway" or "Jerry Seinfeld on Broadway." That's not really a Broadway show. That's kind of using Broadway as a prop. I want to do a six-month run and do a two-act show that has a theme to it, and I'll do it.

CNN: Why?

CARLIN: Broadway isn't a very big career move, you know. ... There's no money in it and it doesn't mean anything to your career. It's just a nice little jewel in the crown. So, I would look at it some day as a labor of love and a kind of a luxury that I could move to New York for a year and do this show.

CNN: What do you think of the state of the world today?

CARLIN: It's a big freak show. You gotta just enjoy it. That's my attitude. The human race is destroying itself slowly and it's wonderful to watch. It's being led by America, which has all the money and the power and the guns.

We're all given a ticket to the American freak show the day we're born and some people, they put their ticket away. Me, I watch the show.


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