Henry Rollins Gets 'Provoked' in His One-Man Spoken-Word Show
"Good evening, boing." And we're off.
There's a great tradition of spoken-word artists like Lenny Bruce and George Carlin. Who are some of the artists in that field that have influenced you?
The people that impacted me were George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, those three people hugely, especially Lenny Bruce, just because of what he was saying when he was saying it. And my mom had those records, so I would listen and you kind of get it. You're a little kid listening to junkie bebop humor. And then as an older guy you get it a little better, a little differently. Then as an adult you're like, "Oh." Then it's very impactful. Carlin was a lot easier for a kid like me to get his head around because 'The Seven Words you Can't say on Television' and all that. And Pryor, he's just a funny guy. But when you come at him culturally, and I come from Washington, D.C., was a very heavy black-white tension there, and hearing Richard Pryor kind of deconstruct the white-black dynamic was healthy. He was easily a genius and a great humanitarian for what he did. I think he gave white people somewhat of a view into the black experience. These guys were listed as comedians, but they're like sociological behaviorists or humanitarian observers or something. It wasn't always funny what they were saying. They would point out all the hypocrisy. And I think that's part of the job of comedy, where fiction gets its truth.
What issues are most important to you in this election year?
I'd like to see someone who's absolute on Iraq, who just says, "We gotta get out of there. It's time to go." And someone who comes down hard with a thing on health care, and says, "What are we going to do in the next 50 years about the real problems of global warming and the real problem that petroleum is a