Saturday, June 28, 2008

George Carlin (May 12, 1937 - June 22, 2008)

My age. Just a month and nine days older than I when he died this past Sunday following his 4th heart attack.

An extremely controversial figure, George seemed to court public criticism and media attention with his sensational, sometimes vulgar, shows.

Perhaps the most famous is the "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television", which later -- indirectly -- led to a Supreme Court decision on an FCC ruling.

He did not vote, and often criticized elections as an 'illusion of choice'.

On religion, he often joked that he worshiped the sun, one reason being that he could actually see it. He prayed to Joe Pesci, he said, because he "looks like a guy who can get things done".

I would never have paid to go and see one of George's shows. Vulgarity does not turn me on. Nevertheless, I can remember often laughing hysterically at a one-liner of his.

His command of the English language, however, was very fine, and he had a really good time making fun of euphemisms and other common words or phrases that he thought were pompous, presumptuous, or even silly.

In his post Tuesday, Chuck recounts twenty of George's more printable one-liners.

Interestingly enough, on June 18th this year, just four days prior to his death, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts had announced that he would be the 2008 honoree of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Since his death, after first conferring with the family and then PBS (who had been originally scheduled to air the show), it was decided that the show will go on. It will air on PBS in November, when George Carlin will become the first posthumous recipient of this honor.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

I wasn't even aware he'd passed away til we got back today and I started reading yours and Jim's blogs. He was never a favorite of mine, but he'll surely be missed by many.