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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

George Carlin


I've been writing about death far too often lately. Please, indulge me one more time. As you know, George Carlin died Sunday night at the age of 71.


My first exposure to George Carlin was in the early 70's, on the Mike Douglas Show. I instantly became a fan. Then, there was his first HBO special in March of 1977. It was groundbreaking, to say the least. HBO had the right idea with its "On Location" series. Just take a camera into an auditorium, and tape a comedian's entire performance. It was perfect. I watched that first HBO show so many times, I had his routines committed to memory.


You can't talk about George Carlin without discussing his use of four letter words. I think the "dirty" stuff gets far too much attention. If you take away the foul language, Carlin was still funny. He had the voice. He had the gestures.
George Carlin was no angel. He admitted to a long history of drug use. There was a stint in rehab for alcohol abuse. I'm sure there's more we don't know about.

The Associated Press obituary sounded the perfect note when it said Carlin was as much a social commentator and philosopher as comedian. Carlin seemed to be a little more angry in recent years, often railing against organized religion. I wasn't thrilled with that stuff, but when you look at the body of his work, George Carlin was brilliant.


"Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that. "

George Carlin
1937-2008