Norman Lear, 95, uses the N-word and makes no apology

Paul Hipp, Norman Lear and Jerrod Carmichael (Photo provided by Podcast One)
Paul Hipp, Norman Lear and Jerrod Carmichael (Photo provided by Podcast One)

In this week’s episode of Norman Lear’s new podcast, “All of the Above” on PodcastOne, he delivers his iconic brand of activism in a conversation about race relations with “The Carmichael Show” creator, actor, writer and comedian Jerrod Carmichael. Also discussed are Carmichael’s approach to stand-up comedy, the significance of starting conversations for social progression and creating art that keeps you alert, along with politics, past and present. The episode is available now on, the PodcastOne app and Apple Podcasts.

It was recently revealed that Carmichael would be incorporating the “N-word” into his network sitcom. In the podcast, Lear leads his sidekick, Paul Hipp, and Carmichael in a countdown to remove the power our culture gives to the taboo word, which the trio explains only increases divide in our society. They do this by saying the word in unison.

Below is an excerpt from the podcast:

On the “N-word”:
Lear: “Wouldn’t it be better if the word nigger was available? Making it the worst thing that could ever happen, so that nobody can say anything but the ‘n-word’ – isn’t that a curse on the word and communication?”

Carmichael: “It’s a curse on the word and childish, and does more harm than good. People think – the intention is it’s stopping hatred, but it doesn’t stop hatred and it doesn’t stop, you know, painful language…What it does is preserve a word and make it more dangerous…If we free the word then, perhaps, it will be less dangerous and we – you won’t feel the need to fight the person who says it.”

Hipp: “Take the power away.”

Carmichael: “Exactly. Take the power away from it.”

Lear: “You know what I’d like to do for the audience, who never gets to hear anything but the ‘n-word?’ I’d like to say, in three minutes, one of us will use the n-word, so that they have a chance to call all their friends and let them know that the n-word is going to be spoken in three minutes.”

Carmichael: “We’re setting our watches? Alright.”

Lear: “As a matter of fact, if you have time, you might want to call neighbors, and start a party.”

Carmichael: “Make it a drinking game, if you will. Take a shot every time we say it.”

Hipp: “Did you have to fight for that episode, to be able to say it?”

Carmichael: “It’s some pushback. It’s some concern, but we say it with the best intention. It’s always for the sake of discussion, you know, and that’s what’s fun about this format, is that it’s for the sake of discussion. We want to talk about it, and we want to talk about why you should use it at times and why you shouldn’t use it, and it’s a pretty balanced argument…I’m really excited that I’m here for this groundbreaking.”

Lear: “5…4…3…2…1.”

Lear, Carmichael, Hipp: “Nigger.”

Carmichael: “By the way, that may be one of the greatest moments of my life…I think we’ve done so much for race relations in that moment. A couple of people are angry. Good for them, though. I hope a couple people got angry, and I hope a few – I hope more people felt enlightened.”

Carmichael’s Parting Thoughts on the New Podcast:
Carmichael: “There’s a really great energy in here. I’m so happy you’re doing this. This is beautiful.”

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