I was hanging out in my apartment this afternoon, writing my next post when I learned that George Carlin passed away on Sunday at a hospital in Santa Monica.
I am sure there are many of you who grew up listening to Carlin’s records or watching his HBO specials. He was a rare breed of comedian that defined the times and paved the way for other comedians to follow in his path.
Some may argue that he was the heir apparent to Lenny Bruce with his acerbic wit and style. Perhaps, but Carlin would up the ante with his comedic stylings. Together with other comedians like Richard Pryor and even Cheech and Chong, they would help, at least my generation, laugh our way through the 70s.
He was part curmudgeon and part grandfather; part philosopher and part dirty old man. Above all he was brilliant. His own unique style and brand of counter-culture humor will keep us laughing forever just like this bit about football and baseball.
The first time I heard of George Carlin was back in the summer of 1973 when my mom brought home one of his albums AM/FM. My mom put it on the turntable and we busted a gut laughing as we listened to him talk about drugs, the weather, and “getting fired in Las Vegas for saying the word shit in a town where the biggest game is called craps. Fired me. Shit.” That was classic Carlin.
If I remember correctly, my mom and I listened to the album a couple of times that summer afternoon. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes.
And he also made us look at some of the silly stuff we say: “Everything is going down the tubes. What tubes? And how come there is more than one?” Or his take on restrooms at a gas station: “Why do they lock gas station bathrooms?” he once mused. “Are they afraid someone will clean them?”
George, thanks for making us laugh all these years.