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.