Talking Liberalism: 3 Questions With Evan Sayet
Last week, I got together for my second interview with conservative comedian Evan Sayet (first one here). What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation, most of which centered around liberalism.
Now you used to be a writer for Bill Maher. : I’ve heard a few people say, “Gee he used to be much more balanced at one point. Now he’s just another nasty liberal. What happened to that guy?” What happened to him?
What happened to him was that we used to do his show out of New York City. If you are a narcissist, if you are an egoist, if you desperately need people to tell you how wonderful, you’ll do well in New York City because it’s this compacted little island. You walk past doormen who yell out, “Love you, Bill.” You talk to a cabby who says, “Love you, Bill.” Then the show moved out to Hollywood and there are no cabbies, there are no doormen. You get in your car at the studio and you drive to your mansion in the Hollywood Hills. So now in order to have people say, “Love you, Bill,” he has to be loved by Susan Sarandon, his neighbor on the left, and Sean Penn, his neighbor on the right, and Jackson Brown, his neighbor across the street.
So the only thing that changed was his location. You know, none of these things he’s saying are heartfelt beliefs of his. They’re a means of getting approval and in New York City that approval comes from a wide balance of people — doormen, cab drivers, in the elevator with strangers. Really, it’s just how does he get his narcissistic capital and in Hollywood, the way you do it is by becoming a leftist lunatic.
Although you’re a comedian, you’re best known among conservatives for a couple of absolutely brilliant speeches you gave at Heritage about the nature of liberalism (See them here and here). How did you get such a full understanding of liberalism? Why do you think so many other conservatives don’t fully understand it?
Well, first of all, it’s very unpleasant to recognize that you’re dealing with people for whom rational thought is a hate crime. It’s just something that we’re not supposed to think about them.
I would much rather not believe what I know about them. I mean it’s important to know it but, I wish it weren’t true. You know, I didn’t really need to understand the philosophical underpinnings of liberalism. I don’t think there’s really a need to know why they support evil, failure and wrong, just the reality that they do.
In your bio at Big Hollywood it says, “Evan calls himself a 9/13 Republican. What surprised Evan and changed him forever was what he calls metaphorically 9/12, the days, weeks, months and now years after 9/11 and the liberal’s response to the attacks.” Talk to us about that.
9/11 didn’t surprise me. Obviously I didn’t know the date, I didn’t know the targets — it quite literally sickened me. But I knew enough about geopolitical realities to know that the people who were murdering the Jews of Israel because they were the closest infidels would, when they could come, murder the big infidels. The only reason they hadn’t come to murder us sooner was because they are so backward in the Islamic world that they didn’t have the technological ability to kill us. We were too far away. We had these oceans between us. It was much easier to strap a bomb on their 12-year old, shove him over the border, ans tell him he was going to go to a whorehouse in the sky if he blows up some infidels and be done with it.
So 9/11 didn’t surprise me. What surprised me was my liberal friends’ response: The idea that we deserved it, that it was something that we did that provoked it. That it was in the President’s mentor’s words, “The chickens coming home to roost.” And the idea that the way to prevent further such horrors was to be nicer to the terrorists — this was insane.
We grew up in America and my generation, I’ll be 50 later this year — we grew up in a world without consequences. I think back to my dad. My dad was of the Greatest Generation and when he was 12 he lost his father to disease. When he was 15, he was living through the Great Depression. When he was 18, he was in India as part of the battle against Nazism.
Look into my life and the lives of everybody in this country and what’s our biggest concern? You know what we fear? We fear restless leg syndrome. You know, that’s the biggy. There was actually a commercial on television for an osteoporosis medicine. Nobody knew what osteoporosis was until people hunched over. Now they have this pill and they counted this particular brand as superior because you didn’t have to do the hard work of taking a pill four times a month, once a week. This one, you only took once a month. It was an intrusion upon your utopia to have to put a pill in your mouth and swallow three extra times. So, in this world without consequences, you are supposed to believe in the utopian. You’re supposed to support the utopian because if there are no costs or consequences, the utopian answer is the right answer. If there are no cost or consequences to illegal aliens, then the right answer is, hey, let them all come.
That’s the life we grew up in. But, 9/11 was a consequence and at that moment, you really had to think about what you believed. Did you believe what the left believes or was what you believed diametrically opposed? How do we stop more airplanes from flying into buildings or whatever the next tactic is going to be? If you believe that it’s because we deserved it and we’re bad people, then we should become better people. We should be nicer to the terrorists as the Democrats believe.
I had to rethink everything about my life because I had never given serious thought to any political issues because again, when you live in a utopia as we Americans do, it’s the closest thing to utopia any human being has ever experienced. I mean, my gosh, John, I was making fun of the osteoporosis medicine, but not that long ago if you needed an operation, you know what you did? You swigged vodka and you bit on a bullet. We don’t know pain, we don’t know about a war, we barely understand terrorism.
I had never really thought about what I believed and from that moment on, I not only had to begin to think about it, but I had to catch up. So I sat down metaphorically, thought it through, and discovered the Left has more desire than ability. They’re not mentally retarded. They have the ability to discriminate thoughtfully. They just reject it as a hate crime.
Last thing, is there anything you’d like to say or promote before we finish? I believe you’ve got an event coming up next week.
A lot of things are happening right at this moment and I’ll just list a few of them. One is that I just agreed to do a weekly column for Human Events magazine. It’s going to be the best of my monologue jokes from every week.
Then there is a new television network that is starting up in March, directed towards those who just are not happy with the content on the leftist run networks. You know, where if it’s a drama and there’s a religious person in the drama, you know instantly they’re the murderer. It’s going to be available on Comcast at first, which is the biggest cable deliverer, and it will also be available via the Internet, cell phones, handhelds and all the other things that smart people do these days.
One of the first shows will be my Right to Laugh: A Night of Conservative Comedy where I’ll host. I’ll do a monologue and then I’ll introduce two or three comedians who aren’t necessarily talking politics.
So to get ready for it, I’ve got two nights of comedy coming up. One of them is this coming Tuesday the 26th at the John Lovett’s Comedy Club. Then on the 31st, just up the coast maybe 40 miles or so in the beautiful harbor town called Ventura, I’ll be on the 31st at 7:00 p.m. That show starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Ventura Harbor Comedy Club. Tickets for both shows are $20.
Thanks, Evan! I really appreciate your time.
John Hawkins:: You’re one of the many people (myself included) who have come out and said loud and often that you
John Hawkins:: Do you believe a flat tax would help produce more economic growth than the progressive tax system that we