Thursday, June 26, 2008
RIP George Carlin
This post is dedicated to George Carlin, the recently deceased comic who made deeply impacted comedy with his crude and obnoxious humor.
I was shocked the other day to hear that he had passed away. He would laugh if he read that I used the phrase "passed away" as opposed to simply "died." He had an amazing comedic bit on euphemisms, which I included in an earlier post, and he would hate for us to sugar-coat the truth.
I know he was old, so I shouldn't be too surprised. The signs were there anyway. In the last formal comedy special he had, he talked a lot about death and old age--a new twist on his material. He confronted it without any sort of fear. He didn't believe in heaven or anything positive after death (a bit too depressing or dark for me), which is kind of sad considering he's there now. But he didn't seem to concerned with it. He embraced the topic with just as much vigor as anything else. No fear--just embrace it strongly without any sympathy or emotion.
Doing a quick bit of research, I discovered that, during his early comedy years, he was imprisoned for his crude humor and swearing during acts. This is now commonplace for many and most comedy acts. His performance made this acceptable. Check out the police report and picture above. See how much has changed since this performance? He has deeply impacted our culture. He was willing to put himself on the line for a change (even though it's a bit out there). I like that kind of drive in a person, for whatever they believe in (as long as it's not harmful to others). And this was 1972. Look how far we've come since then, over 30 years later.
Anyway, George Carlin, even though he was crude and offensive at times, changed comedy to be more outspoken. His organized, intelligent comedy bits have been inspiring and thought-provoking, despite some of his other work. This guy was legendary. He was one of the FIRST guests on Saturday Night Live. He's been around forever and has continued to remain funny and change/improve his comedy over the years. I commend that.
To George Carlin, a great man.
What did you think of George Carlin? Any words about him or his passing?