George Carlin Dead at 71

georgecarlin.jpgGeorge Carlin died of heart failure last night in a Santa Monica hospital after complaining of chest pains yesterday afternoon. He had a history of heart trouble.

George Carlin is probably most famous for his “Seven Words You Can never Say On Television” routine from the early 70’s. (Please click here to see more about that.) He’s been a counterculture, telling-it-like-it-is icon for a long time since, winning four Grammies and being nominated for many other awards along the way, mostly recently for the Mark Twain award for American humor, announced just last week.

I’ve listened to a lot of George Carlin, but what stuck was a routine about words you never hear together like: “Hand me that piano!” or “please saw my legs off!” Tell us your favorite Carlin work in the comments.

Shit, George, we’re going to miss you.

(Image by Bonnie used under Creative Commons license.)

13 Replies to “George Carlin Dead at 71”

  1. Aw, crap. George said so many things that needed to be said, and that often really needed to be heard!

    I miss him already.

    “That’s the whole meaning of life, isn’t it? Trying to find a place for your ‘stuff’.”

  2. Al Sleet was a favorite character of my teenage years. I always felt like I could relate to his musings of growing up Catholic.

    The “Seven words” were his most famous act, but my favorites were the others around the same time.

    His website, link skips flash intro: http://www.georgecarlin.com/home/home.html

  3. “Hippy Dippy Weatherman” still cracks me up. But at our house, he’s better known for narrating “Thomas the Tank Engine.”

  4. My favorite routine is where he describes sealing off criminals in four adjoing states – perverts in one state, murderers in another etc… then you televise what ensues when you let the different types of prisoners comingle.

    Great stuff!

  5. I was privileged enough to see him live several years ago. The best time I’ve had in a comedy club ever.

    My favorite routines of his were always his….rants, if you will. He would do a 3-5 minute routine where he would link a bunch of different pop culture references together to form this hilarious anti-pop culture jab at society. Sheer brilliance.

    I’ll miss him.

  6. I found a Carlin tape in my brother’s room when I was about 8, I think. Headlines was my favorite bit then, and still one of my favorite bits now. “21 Killed in 21 Gun Salute.” “Saliva causes stomach cancer, but only when ingested in small quantities over a long period of time.”

    I saw him live once, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It was his first tour after his wife’s death, and the grief showed. I heard people complain later that he’d lost something – he had. The love of his life. He spoke about her once during the show, and couldn’t stop the tears. I wouldn’t trade that memory. I feel, in some way, honored that I was in an audience with which he chose to share that kind of raw emotion – and that’s one of the things I loved about Carlin. He wasn’t afraid to make his audiences face something uncomfortable, even if it wasn’t funny.

  7. I actually discovered some of his material at a very young age. My dad had some of those K-Tel comedy records and one of them had Carlin on it, back when he wasn’t doing blue material. It was a sample of a skit from a longer record called “Wonderful Wino”, about a drunken radio DJ. The skit was absolutely hilarious – I mean, my brothers and I still quote it. “Here’s a protest song from Danny & The Dressmakers called…’Don’t Want No War!’……Don’t want no war….don’t want no war….don’t want no war…….don’t want no job neither!” When I was a kid, I never knew that Mr. Conductor on Shining Time Station would turn out to be such a hilarious, controversial, and thought-provoking comedian…maybe even more than a comedian: a real artist.
    As I got older, I also began to enjoy Carlin’s appearances in films (particularly him in Kevin Smith’s Dogma and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back – it’s the rule of the road!)

    An extremely sad thing to wake up to read in the morning. Rest in peace, George – your comedy and entertainment and views you provided that definitely helped shape a young me and a others out there, I’m sure…..they will live on forever.

    – AP
    http://www.proctorformayor.com

  8. I have an old Carlin LP. Even converted it to digital last year.

    The man was funny. Like HST he challenged govt interference with our lives only he was really funny about it.

    I was a little saddened to see his passing, then I thought about the legacy he left behind…questioning trends and lampooning them to make you think. He made us laugh at the silly things we took too serious.

    Thanks for the laughs George. Thanks for making people think without trying.

  9. Wonderful WINO, a send-up of 60’s top 40 stations, was terrific. And, two Carlin lines that stick in my mind:

    “Why is it that if another driver is going slower than you, he is an idiot, but if he is going faster than you, he is a maniac?”

    “Why does a dog love to hang his head out the window of a moving car, but hates it when you blow in his face?”

  10. “Did you ever notice you never seem to get laid much on Thanksgiving? I think it’s because all the coats are on the bed.”

    I remember Carlin’s idiot/maniac comparison at least three or four times a week in the car. Although his later rants (’90s & 2000s) began to get more angry than funny, he never stopped making me laugh. His earlier material (’70s) not only made me laugh uncontrollably, he made me think.

    The world is no less fucked up today, but it is less funny. Finding the humor in the ridiculousness of it all just got a little harder.

  11. His rant about the sport of Golf and how all the golf courses should be made available for the homeless to live.

  12. Was he the one who said only people who don’t vote have the right to complain? I really like that one.

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