Monday, June 23, 2008

Goodbye, Mr. Carlin

George Carlin: May 12, 1937 - June 22, 2008

As a teenager during the Vietnam conflict, my friends and I thought George Carlin was the ultimate comedian. He was obscene, totally without limits, and funny. Anti-establishment to the core in the Age of Aquarius - that was George. Listening to him meant we were renegades, too - at the ripe old age of eighteen.

Once after watching a Carlin hosted Saturday Night Live, it occured to me that Carlin and my mother were close in age (she was born in 1931). How could that be? Impossible!

His humor later in life changed as did the popular culture that made him famous. Always biting, Carlin's stand-up routine became mean-spirited and less funny. He could still make you laugh, but something was different. The jokes were bitter, the irony turned to a sour sarcasm it seemed to me. Oh well, it is impossible to be all things to all people in all decades.

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

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.

You know the good part about all those executions in Texas? Fewer Texans.

Ahh, I'll forgive you that last line, George. We can't all be Texans, you know. *Smile*


Foo said...

A few of my favorites:

“You've got 23 odds and ends on a table. 22 fall off. What have you got left? An odd... or an end?”

“Didja ever notice there are no Chinese guys named ‘Rusty’?”

“Longshoremen walked off the piers today. Rescue attempts continue.”


Cowtown Pattie said...

Chinese guys named Rusty?


la peregrina said...

I've always liked the way he made me look at things diferently:

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

Or made me groan:

"If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?"

Suzz said...

I still remember his hippy-dippy weather man. "Tonight’s forecast . . . Dark, continued mostly dark tonight turning to widely scattered light in the morning." As a news reporter, Carlin said, "A one armed man was arrested at the Central Park lake today for annoying other boaters by continuously rowing in a circle." They just don't make humor like that anymore.

Anonymous said...

How in the world did I miss out on hearing about George Carlin until so recently? A year ago, his name would have evoked zero recognition--politician? postal carrier? secretary? what???

Your posting tells me that I missed something (which, somehow, other bloggers have failed to convey!)
Cop Car

Cowtown Pattie said...

Cop Car - HBO has been re-airing some of his standup routines. Maybe you can catch one.

Carlin wasn't an Everyman comedian - a lot of "grownups" never liked him because he was, well, like Lenny Bruce.