“A god who cussed”

Early this morning, hours before dawn, I was doing show prep, searching the Interwebs for news and topics, just so I wouldn't sound like a complete douchebag on the air.  The first story I noticed was that George Carlin had died.  George Carlin was part of my life ever since I saw "Carlin at Carnegie," his landmark 1982 HBO Special.  I saw a few more of his HBO Specials, and I even saw him in concert several years ago.  He was, needless to say, hilarious.

But there was a lot more to Carlin than telling jokes.  Truth be told, I've been fortunate to see some amazing comedians perform live.  From the surprisingly hilarious–Richard Jeni, Rosie O'Donnell and Rodney Dangerfield–to the surprisingly disappointing–Richard Lewis, Rich Little–I always laughed.  I love to laugh, and they were all good.

Carlin transcended "funny." He was smart, cerebral, angry.  George would look at the above sentence, and wonder why all the comics I listed have first names beginning with 'R.'  Only one other comedian has ever left me thinking as well as laughing, and that was Dennis Miller. 

Without Carlin, there'd be no Dennis Miller.  I wonder what comedy would be like had we never had Class Clown, the Hippie-Dippie Weather Man, and the infamous Seven Words.  George Carlin made comedy better.  He improved it, just as he improved early 1980's HBO and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

I recently bought the movie The Aristocrats, in which 100 comedians discuss and tell "the world's dirtiest joke."  Comedians are a breed apart from most of polite society.  I've worked with many over the years, and they can be taxing at times.  What struck me as I watched this film was how unlike the others George Carlin was, how sui generis his intellect was among 99 other funny people.

Many of my Vox neighbors–Kirk, Jay, Miami Shyner, et al–have eulogized George beautifully, poignantly.  Kevin Smith wrote a loving tribute for Newsweek.  I wasn't going to write a eulogy for George Carlin–just an "R.I.P., George, now go read what Kirk wrote." Once again, though, that sonofabitch got me thinking. 

He always did; he always will.

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5 Responses to ““A god who cussed””

  1. I've never seen any of George Carlin's comedy (sacrilege, I know) but I agree that he made Bill & Ted (and, honestly, Dogma). I was very sad to hear of his death.

  2. Agreed re: Dogma. How ironic that he ended up playing Bishop Glick, a "royal ugly dude."

  3. Odd that his last public discussion of politics was with the late Tim Russert.

  4. And, perhaps, his next. 😉

  5. When I heard George Carlin had died I went back and listened to the audio book of When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops – he was the funniest genius that ever lived.

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