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Carl and a tiny portion of his 15,000+ political button collection.
From 2007 to 2012, Carl Wolfson was the host of “Carl in the Morning” on AM620 KPOJ, Portland’s progressive talk.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Carl was one of the country’s leading stand-up comedians and a frequent guest on national television, appearing on HBO, Showtime’s Comedy Club Network, VH-1’s Stand-Up Spotlight, An Evening at the Improv and The Joan Rivers Show.
His weekly news segments on Thicke of the Night (“The Wolfson Report”) and Fox Network’s Late Show (“Carl’s Camera”) were the most popular features of each show.
Carl began his stand-up career at Hollywood’s Comedy Store in 1980, and is a veteran of more than 7,000 performances.
Growing up in a politically active family (Carl’s Republican grandmother refused to carry a Roosevelt dime), he quickly developed an appetite for politics and lifelong love of history. After Carl became a liberal in college, he and his conservative mother began a 42-year “debate,” that elevated mild family dysfunction to epic levels of hilarity. When she refused to wear a KPOJ T-shirt, Carl took a lighter to her Glenn Beck Christmas sweater.
At Genevieve’s funeral in September 2012, Carl’s loving eulogy included the silver lining that “this is the first time in 16 years that I’ve been near mom and not had to listen to Fox News.”
On KPOJ, Carl originally shared hosting duties with prolific author Thom Hartmann and talented local legend Heidi Tauber (a little THC to start the day). For two years, beginning in mid-2008, Carl co-hosted with the dynamic Christine Alexander; the station reached record ratings after the historic election of Barack Obama.
For its entire run, the morning show was produced by Paul Pimentel, who added snarky humor and contributed liberally to such fan-favorite segments as, ”Weasel of the Week,” “Ridiculous Republican Rhetoric” and “Carl Doesn’t Want to Work Fridays.”
Carl covered national politics and conducted in-depth interviews with A-list guests (Alan Greenspan, Paul Krugman, Nate Silver, Maya Angelou), progressive legends (Howard Zinn, Gloria Steinem, Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky) and conservative counter-punchers (Grover Norquist, Frank Luntz, Bob Barr, Pat Buchanan).
Perhaps the show’s greatest contribution was connecting Oregon listeners with their elected reps (Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley; House members Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Suzanne Bonamici, Kurt Schrader) and providing a platform for hundreds of local organizations from the Oregon AFL-CIO to Multnomah County Young Dems to the Forest Park Conservancy.
During 2012, Carl was a frequent guest host for Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz on their national radio programs.
“Being Portland’s progressive voice for six years,” Carl said, “was the greatest honor of my life.”
Carl received his B.S. in Communications from the University of Tennessee in 1975, and an M.A. in Political Science from UCLA in 1983.
Carl and Genevieve, February 2012