George Carlin: May 12th 1937 to June 22nd 2008


George Carlin, popular comedian of the 1970s died of heart failure on March 22nd famous for his “anti-establishment” zeal and his Hippie days (before he lost most of his hair) as a stand-up style comedienne.

Bruce Demara, Entertainment Reporter for The Star, writes:

George Carlin began his career in comedy as a jacket and tie kind of guy, with a partner. But after shedding his partner, Jack Burns, in the early ’60s, and donning a beard, ponytail and the casual hippy garb of the time, Carlin went on to redefine standup comedy, shatter taboos, and redefine obscenity and indecency when his “dirty words” routine sparked a case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Carlin, 71, died in Los Angeles of heart failure Sunday, days after learning he would receive the Kennedy Center Honors and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. In the past, those receiving the Kennedy Center award have been expected to attend the ceremony, but, in a break from tradition, officials announced the event would proceed as planned on Nov. 20. Yesterday, comics paid tribute to his indispensable contribution to standup and humour. … American shock comic Sandra Bernhard, in Toronto for Pride Week festivities and for an appearance on eTalk, called Carlin’s passing “a sad end to an era. George was a trailblazer politically and a true original, and he will be deeply missed.” Carlin, born May 12, 1937, was a high school dropout raised by a single mother in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan. He began his career in the U.S. Air Force as an off-base disc jockey in Shreveport, La. He moved on to another deejay job in Fort Worth, Tex., and stints as a carnival organist and marketing director for peanut brittle, before he and radio buddy Burns got their first break when they appeared on Jack Paar’s Tonight Show.
Mark Breslin, founder of the Yuk Yuk’s chain of comedy clubs, rated Carlin, along with Woody Allen and Richard Pryor, among the greatest comics of the late 20th century. “I don’t think there would be a Bill Maher today, a Jon Stewart or a Dennis Miller, without George Carlin. George Carlin kicked open the taboos for all those people and more, and so many comics working nightly in comedy clubs,” Breslin said. But Carlin was more than a buffoon in Breslin’s estimation; he was a social satirist of keen intelligence. …
“(Carlin) was a very smart guy and his comedy was smart. There was nothing silly or stupid about his comedy at any point.”
“He wasn’t a comic who made a career out of movies … (or) of sitcoms. He made a career the old-fashioned way: by getting up in front of people and telling the truth in a funny way.” Breslin also recalled Carlin “was very good about spending time with young comics and giving them advice and helping them out.”
“I would always go backstage whenever I would see him, here or in the States, and there was always a little lineup of comics waiting to meet him and talk to him, and he always had time for them. You know, that’s a generous person.”
Toronto-born comic Brian Lazanik called Carlin a true inspiration. “He’s only the reason I got into standup. He’s only the reason everybody does (standup comedy) today. Everything we think of standup today, he’s responsible for 80 per cent of it.”
RobertKlein “He transcended the generations; that was the amazing thing,” U.S. comedian Robert Klein said. “He was the universal American comedian. A counterculture Bob Hope but not quite counterculture.”
Toronto-based comic Trevor Boris described Carlin as “definitely one of the prolific comics of all time,” citing his 23 comedy albums, 140 HBO specials and his 130 appearances on The Tonight Show.
“I’m pretty young and the people I look up to are maybe a little bit more contemporary, but those people were all influenced by George Carlin … he’s the starting poin
t.”

George Carlin’s famous skits that was produced on LP and other media albums, even later CDs was The Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV – this is the attitude the mostly kept him off TV. He was a maverick, but also a rebel and when he was young he joined those who were against the established society’s rules and became an advocate of free speech – even going to the Supreme Court to seek his views concerning the First Amendment.
George Carlin collaborated with Robert DeNiro who has a good sense of humor on several projects.
There was to be an HBO Special starring the aged comedienne entitled It’s Bad For Ya, a live presentation.
The George Carlin website still shows the scheduled HBO Special, and unless it was pre-taped (doubtful because it was a “live” performance, this will be canceled and most likely replaced by some sort of tribute. If you are a Carlin fan, stay tuned. In the meantime the site has the following message:
YouTube presently features two George Carlin videos – one five minutes and one ten minutes in length. Religion is Bullshit and Stuff are the two videos. As you can tell by the title of the first comic episode, George Carlin was never afraid to tackle social taboos when it came to what he deemed as the right to free speech.
To give you some idea of what kind of guy George was, and the reason he was considered one of the “smart” comediennes, here are some quotes, which are not necessarily part of his comedy act but coming from him as a person – yet still with a tint of his style of humor, from Brainy Quote:

Always do whatever’s next.

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.

Here, George shows his ability to take simple every day words, thoughts or actions in life and make humor out of it, artfully done, it makes the recipient of these weird and funny phrases stop and think:

Don’t swear the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.

Dusting is a good example of the futility of trying to put things right. As soon as you dust, the fact of your next dusting has already been established.

Electricity is really just organized lightning.

Carlin has been an anti-war advocate left over from the days of the Vietnam War, probably with his close attribution to the hip culture of the 1960s and 1970s:

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

Raised from a traditional Catholic and attending Catholic school when young, George was considered an atheist or at least an agnostic. Actually this quote explains it:

When it comes to God’s existence, I’m not an atheist and I’m not an agnostic. I’m an acrostic. The whole thing puzzles me.

He often denounced the idea of religion within itself, as well as the questions he had pertaining to the concept of God. His most notable skit was Invisible Man in the Sky and There is No God routines. George would joke about religion when the subject came up and someone asked questions about his belief that he worshipped the Sun – because he could actually see it, but when it came time to pray he did so to Joe Pesci (his real-life friend) and said it was because “he’s a good actor” and “looks like a guy who can get things done.”[i]
George Carlin also introduced a “pocket-sized” edition of the Ten Commandments, chopped down to two in his HBO special Complaints and Grievances. George was a regular on HBO. George added an additional command – “Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself”.[ii]

Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.

I have as much authority as the Pope; I just don’t have as many people who believe it.

I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me – they’re cramming for their final exam.

That joking statement was popular when he did gigs on campuses across America. George had many gigs at colleges and universities as a guest entertainer, and even got paid for it.

I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a guy nailed to two pieces of wood.

I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.

I’m not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of Hell will break loose … it’ll be much harder to detect.

If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.

May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.

George made comments about things that occur in daily life:

Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

I recently went to a new doctor and noticed he was located in something called the Professional Building. I felt better right away.

I think it would be interesting if old people got anti-Alzheimer’s disease where they slowly began to recover other people’s lost memories.

If you can’t beat them, arrange to have them beaten.

In comic strips, the person on the right always speaks first.

Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.

Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.

And from his days of “Peace and Love”, anti-establishment, and anything goes society …

I think people should be allowed to do anything they want. We haven’t tried that for a while. Maybe this time it’ll work.

Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town.

And, here’s one last quote that shows how Carlin made people not only laugh, but stop and think:

People who say they don’t care what people think they are usually desperate to have people think they don’t care what people think.

I am sure wherever he is right now, believing in religion or God or whatever or not – he is preparing his material for the next performance there.
George Carlin Trivia [Wikipedia, under “Popular Culture”]…
  • In the early to mid-1960’s George Carlin appeared in advertising as a spokesman for Ozark Airlines.
  • In the second season episode of Everybody Hates Chris, titled “Everybody Hates Dirty Jokes”, Chris gets suspended from school for telling jokes based on Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words” routine.
  • In an episode of That ’70s Show, the disc jockey, Donna, is fired from her job and replaced by a girl who is willing to show more skin in advertisements. In order to get them back, her boyfriend, Eric, convinces Donna to trick the new girl into playing George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words” routine on the air to get her fired. Also, Eric says that after listening to it, he can say a number which is the number of the dirty word Carlin uses. When swearing, Eric only uses numbers.
  • In CKY3, a clip is shown where Carlin says, “I know things you never see. Like you never see someone take a shit while running at full speed.” Immediately after this clip is shown, there is a clip of Raab Himself disproving Carlin’s statement by taking 18 ex-lax tablets and then defecating while running.
e87ac13c-92e2-40f5-9987-14e098668a89 GEORGE DENIS PATRICK CARLIN May 12th 1937 (New York, NY)
to
June 22nd 2008 (Santa Monica, California)
Whether be believed in a Supreme Being or not – May God bless him. He certainly entertained a lot of folks while he was here. 
Bibliography:
What Am I Doing in New Jersey? – broadcast, Wikipedia
Jammin’ in New York – Atlantic record label, Wikipedia
Killer Carlin – Uproar Entertainment, Wikipedia
George Carlin on Comedy – Wikipedia
Life is Worth Losing – Eardrum/Atlantic label, Wikipedia
It’s Bad for Ya – Eardrum/Atlantic label, HBO – Wikipedia
Car Wash – 1976 film, San Francisco Chronicle
The Prince of Tides – Rotten Tomatoes 
Scary Movie 3 – Wikipedia
Carlin at Carnegie Hall – 1982
You Are All Diseased – 1999
Three Times Carlin: An Orgy of George – 2006 book
The George Carlin Show – 1994, Fox TV, Wikipedia
The Streets of Laredo – as “Billy Williams”, Rotten Tomatoes 

[i]There is no God”, You Are All Diseased and Wikipedia.
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