This is probably a generational thing on my part (As a colleague reminded me last week when we were discussing Steve Martin and she informed me he
used to do stand-up played banjo), but I like to think you can grab any 5 people you run across today and talk for an hour about George Carlin, who died on Sunday at 71.
Entertainment Weekly said Carlin “emerged in the 1970s with a style much more reflective of the times, pushing into more sensitive areas of social observation and language, a favorite topic of his over the years. Most notably, his recorded routine ‘Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” became the center of a landmark Supreme Court case.’
Carlin, it’s fair to say, pushed the boundaries. Nothing was off-limits, as this rant on religion once showed:
The Divine Plan. Long time ago, God made a Divine Plan. Gave it a lot of thought, decided it was a good plan, put it into practice. And for billions and billions of years, the Divine Plan has been doing just fine. Now, you come along, and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn’t in God’s Divine Plan? What do you want Him to do? Change His plan? Just for you? Doesn’t it seem a little arrogant? It’s a Divine Plan. What’s the use of being God if every run-down shmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and **** up Your Plan?
For baby-boomers, though, Carlin was troubling to us in his age. It wasn’t for anything he said — or didn’t — it was for what he’d become: a elderly curmudgeon. As a young comedian, he was a refreshing poke in the eye to The Establishment. In his age, he’d become another cranky old man who wanted kids off his lawn. He was still funny, but when we were young, he seemed to be making fun of someone else — The Man, perhaps. As we aged, he was making fun of us.
(Strong language warning in this video)
It was a heck of a run.
Here’s a neat slideshow from the New York Times. As you watch it, you’ll want to poke someone near you and tell them your favorite George Carlin bit. Feel free to share it below. (But keep it clean!)