QUESTION: How much money did you make in radio humor as compared with now, if you don't mind divulging financial data?
MORGAN: I made an average of $100 a week on a single radio station [WOR, New York] in 1939, 40, and part of 41. I make about the same on “I've Got a Secret” alone. This is a kind of progress and a kind of knock for broadcasting in general, because what I do now compared with what I did then is idiotic. It's as though I no longer was paid for having opinions—just maintain a simple mind.
QUESTION: What about the theory that comics lash back at society?
MORGAN:I'm not much interested in theories about comics. If they're lashing back at society, I'm sure society doesn't care. Lots of people have had theories about comics or humorists or satirists or funny fellows in general. None of these theorists have ever gotten a laugh. The best working comic writer today is Art Buchwald. Mort Sahl was very amusing until he started preaching. If a good satirist (which means a good teacher) forgets to get laughs, he defeats himself.
QUESTION: What about the theory that comics hate their fathers? I happen to be a hostile individual myself, so any opinions you have along that line will be most welcome.
MORGAN: If comics hate their fathers, they're wasting time. I was a radio announcer when I was 17. After a while, I got to thinking that announcing was ridiculous, so I got a program of my own an started by making fun of announcing, then of radio in general, and so on. What theory can anybody have about that? That I hate my father? As to your being a hostile individual, what about it? Who's interviewing whom?
QUESTION: What about your various feuds with Steve Allen, Milton Berle, etc.?
MORGAN: Feuds? What feuds? There are a few guys in the trade that I don't like and a few who don't like me. What's that got to do with feuds? Feuds are for the poor.
QUESTION: Are you embittered by the success of phonies, the gladhanders, the perpetual smilers?
MORGAN: I am not embittered by the success, as you put it, of the phonies, gladhanders, or perpetual smilers. None of these is ever a success. Many of them make money, if that's what you mean. I'm sorry to tell you that I am not embittered by anything. Nothing at all. Depressed at times, maybe, but the only thing that can really depress me is stupidity.
QUESTION: I remember one of your radio shows in which you had some pretty unflattering things to say about women. This was, I believe, shortly after your divorce. Would you give your views on women?
MORGAN: Women should be very attractive and never taught to read. The trouble with the average woman is that she's a little below average. Since 90% of the people one meets seem to be constantly auditioning to become morons, and since half these people are women, it figures that 90% of them aren't too bright either.
QUESTION: What do you do all day? What is your average day like? How do you relax?
MORGAN: I read all day. I make model cabooses. (They have TV antennae, window boxes with flowers, Venetian blinds, etc. This is true.) I collect chess sets. I collect antique junk, mainly Oriental. What do have to relax from? My average day is spent on the beach not far from San Juan, Puerto Rico. I love to travel, provided I'm going to San Francisco. I can cook well enough, but I don't invent anything. It's not interesting to experiment for one person. Or not to me, anyway. Many of my friends are excellent cooks, so I eat at their houses and pay my way bringing brandy, etc. I have five or six close friends, which, I understand, is somewhat above average. I really believe a close friend is someone who know everything that's wrong with you and doesn't care. The theater takes a lot of my time and I love it dearly. Unfortunately, I leave at the end of the first act if it's bad. People always tell me that something good happened in the second act. Well, the bum should give me some indication of this in the first act or I'll never know. (The bum in this instance is the author.)
QUESTION: How would you describe yourself?
MORGAN: I'm 5'10 ½”, a little soggy, a little flabby, and I mean to take some corrective exercises almost any time now. I weigh 175 on good days before breakfast. Have been 185, but as soon as I hit that, I come back to 175 by starving. I eat too much because I read too much. Reading in the room next to the kitchen is a guarantor of flab. I have all my own teeth and none of anybody else's. A lot of hair, too, beginning to turn gray, but healthy anyway. I smoke four packs of cigarettes a day and drink pretty good. I've been everywhere I ever wanted to go except the Far East and South America. (Don't know how that helps you describe me physically but you write it your way.) I pay $250 for my suits. Off a rack. They are good suits so I buy one or two a year and consider myself to be well-dressed. I have nothing made to order. I am clean looking because I am clean. That's the closest I can come to being attractive. I have a funny-looking head (people often recognize me from behind) but I have nice legs for a boy. I'm paunchy. Will soon have jowls like a bloodhound. I eat just about everything known to man except oysters. I am never ill. I have gas. It is from booze. When I don't drink—no gas. I will die of cancer or a brain hemorrhage, or a heart attack, or from getting run over by a bus. My laundry bill is $45 a month. (Single man.) I live in a small penthouse overlooking the Hudson. I do Double Crostics in bed, When I finish one, I go to sleep. I sleep seven hours.
Up One Level to: I've Got a Secret (1952)
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