George Carlin has died

George Carlin first came to my attention in a YouTube clip someone posted to reddit.com. I quickly recognised his face from my teens, in his role as Bill and Ted’s guide on their excellent adventure and figured out that he must have been a big name in American comedy.

Then I saw the film Channel 4 made about the Aristocrats joke; the improvised joke you can’t tell on television about an impossibly perverted family doing their cabaret act for an astonished theatrical agent. George’s appearance in it reminded me about him, so I dug deeper into his work, which is out there on the web.

That’s when I realised how important he was in breaking down barriers in comedy. If the FCC have tried to ban it, it’s because George talked about it on the air. He was, quite simply, the father of modern alternative comedy, inspiring and opening doors for the likes of Bill Hicks.

He died in hospital last Sunday afternoon, after complaining of chest pain that morning, but that’s not important. What is important is the routine in the video below. If it has inspired as many people to think about religion in a different light as it had that effect on me (seeing it as I did many years before reading David Yallop, Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens) then, for all ‘the media’ want him to be remembered for his ‘Seven words you can’t say on TV’ routine, this is far more worth pride of place in his show-reel.

MSNBC have an obituary here.

2 comments on “George Carlin has died

  1. I grew up on George Carlin. Really, starting in my childhood, 40 years ago, I would stay up late to see him on Johnny Carson or whatever late-night show. What amazes me, as I read the tributes and comments on blogs, his appeal crossed generations. In fact, it was my niece, who’s 31, who alerted me to his death. I love your big New York Irish mouth, George.

  2. Sooo … soo sad. I didn’t pick up on George Carlin until I had already been exposed to Dawkins and then, strangely, I started listening to Bill Hicks. It came up in conversation that Carlin paved the way for him, and I said, hey, that guy’s name sounds familiar. In the past few years I’ve listened to a lot of his material through online sources and also read some of his writing. George was a smart guy, and I really respected him for being so willing to take chances and speak the truth. I hope in the end he would have been proud of his accomplishments, even though I’m sure he felt, as we all do, that he had so much more to give. Carlin was so… authentic. So crass and yet you felt like you could walk right up to him and give him a highfive and he would be completely cool about it. People like him are too rare. I hope his family is doing okay.

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