In 1962, future Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alex Haley sat down with jazz musician Miles Davis for what would become an institution of American journalism—the Playboy Interview. To celebrate the Interview’s 50th anniversary, Playboy has culled 50 of its most (in)famous Interviews and will publish them over the course of 50 weekdays (from September 4, 2012 to November 12, 2012) via Amazon’s Kindle Direct platform. Here, a glimpse at our conversation with the Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane from the September 2009 issue.
“We’ve been criticized for being too crude and lowbrow. What in the world is wrong with that? There’s something puritanical about people who object to fart jokes or shit jokes. That kind of laughter releases the healthiest endorphins.”
“I’m so critical of everything I do that whenever we start writing a new episode of Family Guy I always have a minor panic attack; I worry we used up all the funny in the last episode and won’t be able to do it again. The neurosis is more an obsession with my own mortality, with things like what astrophysics can tell us about where we’re going and the makeup of the universe. I’ve read a fair amount of Stephen Hawking’s writing and just about everything Carl Sagan wrote. In Annie Hall there’s a sequence in the therapist’s office where Woody Allen says the universe is expanding and one day it will just break apart and that will be the end of everything. And the psychiatrist says, ‘Well, that’s why we’ve got to enjoy ourselves while we’re here.’ I empathize with both characters in that scene. I experience the stress young Alvy Singer is going through, and I absolutely agree with the psychiatrist’s response.”
“Here’s what pissed me off during the election: Republicans kept saying, ‘Obama is too liberal.’ He’s a hell of a lot less liberal than Bush is conservative. We tried your extreme; why can’t we try ours? People love to accuse Hollywood of being out of touch. My parents were teachers. We had no money. For years I lived in a shitty one-room apartment with no air-conditioning, barely able to pay my rent. Look at the Bushes. That’s out of touch. It’s also a very ill-thought-out label. Hollywood is not full of people who are wealthy because they were born that way. It’s full of people who are wealthy because they did something people were interested in.”
“When I break up I do it by the book—I do it through my agent.”
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