Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin: 1937-2008

I recently wrote about George Carlin as his last HBO special was about to air a few months ago, but I just wanted to make another mention of one of my favorite comedians, who passed away last night at the age of 71.

The clip below is from that show, and it's his comments on death, or at least some of our reactions to someone else's death. And yes, there are swear words, so prepare however you need to.

Hopefully the language doesn't get in the way of enjoying Carlin's work, which when he was on -- which was often -- was brilliant. And make sure your kids listen to him as well, when they reach whatever age you feel is right.

I have to thank my parents, who let me listen to one of his early albums, Toledo Window Box at the house when I was in my early teens. It was on 8-track, and I can even remember hearing it in the car on the way to school on several occasions. I wouldn't get out of the car until Carlin finished his rant on the persistence of farts.

Hey, I was only 14.

Wait, that is still probably the bit that would make me laugh the most today, too.

Also loved this old favorite, "If you have 24 odds and ends on the table, and 23 of them fall off, what do you have, an odd or an end?"

Carlin was a master at dissecting the way we act, the way we live, and, especially, the way we talk. Some of my favorite Carlin bits involved words we use, expressions, phrases, emotions, and the analysis of why we say what we say when we say it.

He'll be most remembered for the Seven Dirty Words bit, and while that's not a bad thing, it's important to remember that his act was so much more than that.

One of my favorite Carlin memories happened about 10 years ago while I was sitting in an airport waiting to board a flight to Colorado. There were some delays, so to kill the time, I resumed reading his book, Brain Droppings. Well, it didn't take long until I was laughing so hard I was crying, and whenever I'd stop, I would think back to what I had just read, and it started all over again.

I was fortunate enough to see him live on stage in Las Vegas back in 1997. Whether or not you've had that chance, spend a few minutes on Youtube today -- when the little kids, or boss aren't around -- and enjoy one of the all-time greats.

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