Tuesday, July 01, 2008

By(e) George!

“Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits”

Comedic genius, rebel, and all around madman George Carlin coined this immortal phrase in referencing the 7 words you could not broadcast (originally on radio later updated to T.V.). It may seem tame to those whose first exposure to totally unfiltered comedy was Dane Cook or the like but George was doing this since the 60’s. He took comedy from buttoned down to over the top pretty much single handedly. So for anyone who laughed at Eddie Murphy, Dennis Leary, Dave Chappelle or Louis Black, thank George Carlin. If you ever laughed at the witticisms of Dennis Miller, Bill Mahr, or Jon Stewart, thank George Carlin. Hell, if you are a fan of shock radio it can be traced back to George Carlin. George Carlin died quietly last week and it may take some time for the world to catch up to what we lost.

I’m probably somewhat bitter as Tim Russert’s passing was viewed like as if an ex-president had died while George went with barely a passing mention. I have nothing against Mr. Russert he really wasn’t a part of my life. Well, I suppose neither was George directly but a lot of what I consider my own sense of humor and how I look at things can be traced back to George Carlin. I could go back and look up the year but I know it was in the mid-80’s when the fledgling Home Box Office (before being known by it’s eponymous initials H.B.O.) broadcast Carlin at Carnegie. Now, I had seen George Carlin on Saturday Night Live, had heard both edited and unedited versions of some of his famous material but nothing like this. Nothing was free from his barbs. Religion, sex, politics, the poor, the rich, and charity…you name it. I continued to follow his H.B.O. specials and even seeing him live. But it was that one special that kind of opened my eyes to just how screwed up the world was and was the beginning of my seeing things from “a slightly different perspective”. It probably wasn’t until I was getting closer to the age he was when I first saw his act that I realized just how ground breaking and fearless this guy was. He was hardly a saint and lived a hard life so his passing at age 70 (or 71 I’ve heard conflicting ages) was hardly a shock but I felt a pang of sadness on hearing about it

My final memory of Mr. Carlin was a special he did a couple of years ago. I was away and sitting in bed with a lady friend watching the start of the special. After the cheering died down as he walked out on stage he uttered the following 2 words…”pussy farts”. Well, I simply started belly laughing just at the words and how this late 60 something legend said it. About a minute into the routine I was crying laughing and she was turning the channel saying, “that’s not that funny and you’re stupid”. Well, actually he WAS that funny. There was no dark corner he wouldn’t enter, no subject too taboo, no group he was afraid to piss off and for that, thank you George! You will be missed