A photo of the three guys I had a conversation with.
I recently met up with SirusXM hosts Opie and Anthony, along with Jim Norton, to discuss how media censorship is actually getting worse, why weed still isn’t legal, and whether or not lizard people exist. Over the course of the Opie & Anthony Show's 18-year run, Opie and Anthony themselves have been criticized and called idiots countless times, suspended, fired, and even banned from broadcasting because of the horrifying things that they say. Now that we live in a society where rappers like Drake and J. Cole are being forced to apologize for supposedly offensive lyrics, I figured it was the right time to talk about censorship with a few people who have had to deal with this crap forever. We sat down after their final live broadcast from the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal.
VICE: So, how does talking in a microphone in Montreal compare to talking in a microphone in New York?
Opie: The people in Montreal are really nice, which we’re not used to. Our fans in New York are animals. They make us feel bad about ourselves. These people were very enjoyable. I think it might be because of all the pot that there is in Montreal. We’re so uptight in the United States, but it works here. There’s obviously no big issue. It makes the city smell better. It covers up the stink.
Anthony: It’s a potpourri. You don’t smell the garbage.
You guys got into some trouble a little while ago when you aired a live play-by-play of a couple fucking in a church. Do your crazy antics still get you in trouble now that you’re on satellite radio?
Opie: Language wise, we can pretty much say whatever we want.
Anthony:If you say something against a topic that’s really PC, some group might go and write a letter. If it gets to the right person, you can get in trouble. I think we’re pretty smart when we talk about controversial issues on the air. We make sure not to say something that can be completely looked at as inciting or hate speech. It’s really calculated. It’s done in discussion.
Sounds tricky. You guys are like scientists. Switching gears for a second, Drake was recently forced to apologize for a line in one of his songs where his friend J Cole called autistic people retarded. Is apologizing super lame?
Jim: If you’re sorry, you should say you’re sorry. If you’re not, you shouldn’t.
Anthony: It has to be taken into context. If a politician gets up and says some of the stuff that rappers say, obviously he’s going to get in trouble. But it’s a rapper. That’s why I hate it when people take something and just look at it, get offended, and get someone in trouble when they take it completely out of context. Another thing is, comedians should be able to say anything on stage.
Jim: People know you’re kidding when they come after you anyway. The outrage is fake. These groups are like parasites.
Opie: They hold you hostage to get their message out there.
Anthony: There’s never the proverbial pitchfork and torches with the crowds, because the whole society is offended by what you said. It’s always some small little group that likes to present themselves as bigger than they are.
Jim: I think Americans are very fake when it comes to free speech. When’s the last time a group said ‘Yes, we don’t like what he said, but we have no problem with him expressing himself’?
Do you think it’s gotten worse?
Opie: Way worse.
Anthony: I think it gives them the publicity they need as a group. Years ago, it was just saying “shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits,” and that would get you in trouble. Now it’s not even so much the language, even the FCC is letting ‘fuck’ slip by on TV. The PC part of it is where you’ll get in trouble.
Opie: Anthony and I have been at this radio thing for quite a long time. We’re used to this kind of thing. But they’re going after stand-ups now. That’s crazy.
Anthony: They even equate it to, if a comic gets up there and tells a gay joke, it’s automatically going to result in the beating of a gay person.
Opie: It used to be that comics were untouchable, but we’re finding out slowly but surely that they’re not.
Anthony: Anything can be funny or poignant in the right context and delivered the right way. If you’re trying to provoke people, it comes off differently than a comic using it as a joke. People have to distinguish between the two. You can’t treat both of those the same way. Just because a comic is making fun of rape doesn’t mean they’re endorsing rapists. But some people actually believe that.
Jim: When the press covers this nonsense of comedians saying the n-word or “faggot,” it’s garbage. You can’t respect it. Comedians should be able to mock anything.
Are you a Lizard?
Speaking of mocking things, I loved the interview you did where Louis CK asks Donald Rumsfeld if he's a lizard from outer space. Do you think Donald Rumsfeld is a Reptilian?
Anthony: Louis CK was pretty convinced. He wouldn’t shut up about it on the phone. I was so embarrassed. Do you really think there are lizard people?
I believe in other types of aliens. I don’t know about Reptilians.
Anthony: I don’t think they’d slip that many times. They show everyone, Hillary, Obama, and they’re all lizards. Come on! If they had people in that power base, we’d be taken over already. Let’s get real.
But maybe they are.
Anthony: Oh shit! [Laughs]
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