KRASSNER: Do you mean that if somebody sent you photos of Rick Perry that were like the Anthony Weiner photos, you would publish them?
BREITBART: No doubt. Would I have the same level of enthusiasm? No, because I expected nothing from Anthony Weiner, and I respect Governor Perry. But he has further to fall. It would be more disappointing and more worthy of exposure, because he’s supposed to represent a higher standard.
KRASSNER: I want to get to the topic of religion. As an atheist and an absurdist, the most absurd thing I could do is to develop an ongoing relationship with a deity I don’t believe exists. So as a stand-up comic, before a performance I would say, “Please, God, help me do a good show,” and then I would hear the voice of God bellow, “Shut up, you superstitious fool.” Actually, I stopped being a militant atheist in the 1960s when I realized that Martin Luther King Jr. was a Christian whose actions I admired, whereas George Lincoln Rockwell, the head of the American Nazi Party, was an agnostic whose actions I disdained. So I no longer care what anybody believes instead of what they do, whether they’re kind or cruel to others. I call myself a secular humanist, and you call yourself a secular Jew. I’m curious as to how that informs your views on controversies from circumcision to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For example, as a baby I was circumcised against my will, and now, when San Francisco considers outlawing circumcision, I’m torn between——
BREITBART: Torn between?
KRASSNER: Yeah, that’s a poor verb. I’m trapped between——
BREITBART: Ripped apart.
KRASSNER: Yeah, that’ll do it. I’m ripped apart between freedom of religion and genital mutilation as a form of child abuse. As for the Middle East, I said to God, “You’re supposed to be all-knowing, and so you knew in advance that designating Palestine as the promised land for Jews would have devastating consequences.” And I heard the voice of God boom out, “I never promised land to the Jewish people; I only said, ‘I’ll see what I can do.’ ” But getting back to what being a secular Jew means to you——
BREITBART: Well, first of all, from first-hand experience, I love my perfectly crafted bell end. [laughs] I think penile sculpture as religion is above my pay grade. I wouldn’t equate it with clitorectomies and the depravities you see in Islamic culture and what they do to women for punitive purposes. Given the fact that I have a circumcised penis, it’s too damn sensitive, quite frankly.
KRASSNER: I thought it takes away from sensitivity.
BREITBART: Well, if it does, I’m still too sensitive. I may need a shot or an extra cut. Here’s how I look at it. I used to be an atheist, and I became an agnostic, and now I exist in a place where I say I bat third on the Judeo-Christian softball team. I’ve had too many things happen in my life that, as my father-in-law, Orson Bean, says, there’s no such thing as coincidences. I’m starting to doubt my doubts. But I would still say I’m an agnostic who, when watching the debate between Dinesh D’Souza and Christopher Hitchens, I’m usually laughing and slapping my knee with Hitchens but rooting for D’Souza. I’m desirous of moving toward the Judeo-Christian side. In the past I took solace in my agnosticism. One reason is that, during my agnostic years—I call them my nihilistic years—during which I lived in a world of moral relativism and not believing in objective truths, I didn’t sleep well at night. I was living in a world of moral chaos. The more I started to listen to people like Dennis Prager and rational people who were religious—not fly-by-nights like Tammy Faye Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and Benny Hinn. When you get past the hucksters and get to people like David Mamet, who now speaks of Judeo-Christianity, and Dennis Prager, it makes a hell of a lot more sense than the nihilism I embraced. I now find myself fighting alongside many Christians and Jews who believe Judeo-Christianity is the backbone of American culture. Until somebody gives me a better replacement than Judeo-Christianity, I’m not going to be part of the team that’s trying to tear down that pillar and replace it with nihilism and cultural and moral relativism.
KRASSNER: I know you feel strongly about people succumbing to political correctness. As a performer I’m a living paradox. Irreverence is my only sacred cow, yet I try not to let victims become the target of my humor. There was one specific routine I stopped using in 1970. It called for a “rape-in” of legislators’ wives—most legislators then were men—in order to impregnate them so they would then convince their husbands to decriminalize abortion. My feminist friends objected. I resisted at first because it was such a well-intentioned joke, but I reconsidered. Even in a joke, why should women be assaulted because men make the laws? Legislators’ wives were the victims in that joke, but the legislators themselves and their laws should have been the target. For me to stop doing that bit of comedy wasn’t censorship, it was conscious evolution. It wasn’t political correctness, it was simple respect. However, in 1982 the Radical Humor Festival at New York University sponsored an evening of radical comedy. The next day my performance was analyzed by an unofficial women’s caucus. Robin Tyler, who said, “I am not a lesbian comic; I am a comic who is a lesbian,” served as the spokesperson for their conclusions. What had caused a stir was my reference to the use of turkey basters by single mothers-to-be who were attempting to impregnate themselves by artificial insemination. Tyler explained to me, “You have to understand some women still have a hang-up about penetration.” But freedom of absurdity transcends gender difference. “Yeah,” I said, “but you have to understand some men still feel threatened by turkey basters.”
BREITBART: First of all, there’s a difference between political correctness and human kindness. I have a specific definition of what political correctness is, and you sort of touched on it by the reference to a lesbian comedian having to differentiate her cultural identity: “I’m a comic who happens to be a lesbian.” That’s the problem: Cultural Marxism is political correctness, and political correctness is the translation of Marxist economic theories from the battle between the haves and the have-nots into the battle of the oppressor versus the oppressed. And so, given the oppressor-oppressed model, the oppressed get to maintain a permanent place of judgment against the oppressors, and blacks get to judge whites and say, “You’re not allowed to say that,” but whites aren’t allowed to say to blacks, “Chris Rock, you’re not allowed to make that joke at the expense of white people, because you’re the oppressor. It’s okay for us to make fun of you.” This double standard has created a huge quandary in our country—that somehow there’s a type of affirmative action whereby one group is allowed to castigate, excoriate, demean and defile the other as some form of cultural reparations. All it does in my mind is exacerbate the underlying social rifts, and I reject it wholly. I love Chris Rock, I love Sarah Silverman, but I also think Sam Kinison and Andrew Dice Clay should be afforded the same rule book. I remember watching back in the late 1980s when political correctness started to take over the comedy world, and the Sam Kinisons and Andrew Dice Clays were marginalized and excoriated for their routines, and today Sarah Silverman and Chris Rock get away with much harsher cultural criticism. I want to exist in a world where comedy functions as an exhaust system so that all members of our society can go into that comedy room, into the Improv, and let it all hang out. When Tracy Morgan is forced to go to a reeducation camp because he’s offended gay sensibilities, I don’t think it does anyone in the gay community any favors that they show they don’t have the ability to laugh at themselves. I love Caucasian jokes, I love Jew jokes. All I can say is, I like equal opportunity offenders. It is not political correctness to be outraged when somebody goes after Trig Palin because he’s mentally challenged. That’s just pure crudeness and beyond inappropriate. I guess it’s sort of like the Supreme Court definition of obscenity—you know offense when you see it, and there is a difference between political correctness and saying something that’s just beyond the realm of propriety.