The world lost a brilliant comedian when George Denis Patrick Carlin died. But George wasn’t just a comedian. He was a talented actor (Dogma, Car Wash, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) a master satirist, and author. He won five grammy awards for his comedy albums.
That’s right I said albums. Back in the day, before cd’s and dvd’s and mp3’s we old folks used to listen to music on plastic or vinyl records. Comics like George would put out comedy albums of their live performances. The oldie goldies maintained their popularity and their visibility through this medium.
Guys like Richard Pryor, Redd Fox, Steve Martin and even Robin Williams all did albums. They also started the same way. Working the comedy clubs and hoping that one day they would be able to perform in Vegas. Interestingly all the above mentioned comics did work on television. But Pryor and George were too raw for television. TV watered them down and they suffered for it.
No, these guys, these demi-gods who had the power and intelligence to make anyone see the absurdities of life and the humour that we face in our everyday existence worked best live and on-stage. And the one comic who was the Man, the unadulterated master of this was George Carlin.
He started out playing the clubs. He was brilliant, he gave us the Hippy Dippy Weather man, Wonderful Wino Radio, and more. He was the man who was thrown off the stage in Las Vegas because he said the word shit in his act. This occurrence opened a door for George, it gave him the ammunition he needed to create his ‘Seven Dirty Words’ routine.
The Seven Dirty Words evolved into ‘Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television’ and over the years the list got longer and funnier. George had the capability to make our fears and prejudices funny. He wrote a poem about beards during a time when long hair and beards were seen to be a bad thing.
His acts poked fun at God, politics, the constitution, law and our rights. Nothing was sacrosanct or taboo to George and we loved him for it. George constantly worked and he used to ‘guest host’ The Tonight Show regularly. He was the host of the first ever Saturday Night Live. He also did a yearly HBO special right up until four months before his death.
So lets take a moment to remember the irreverent genius that was George Carlin as we approach the anniversary of his passing. And while you are at it, recite to yourself, internally or out loud, which would be much funnier, the list of Seven words. In case you’ve forgotten or have never heard it, here it is courtesy of Wikipedia:
“ Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits. Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that’ll infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war. ”
—George Carlin, Class Clown, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television”
So here’s to you George you definitely brought a lot the party we call life. I hope that where ever you went after you left us, they appreciate you as much as we did.
- Quote of the Day – George Carlin on Teams (schnik.it)
- George Carlin -“Who Really Controls America” (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Ten Most Famous Bits From Stand-up Comedians (humor.gunaxin.com)
- Inside The Actors Studio: George Carlin (milkandcookies.com)
- Jerry Seinfeld on George Carlin (boardpad.typepad.com)