23
Jun
08

In Passing… George Carlin (1937-2008)

 

 

This one is kinda personal.

 

I’m not big on doing these obit columns. Part of the reason I do them, among the gambit of other entertainment news/reviews that I do, is to pay respect to individuals (quite a few who are behind the scenes) and to make aware to those outside the industry the passing of someone who affected entertainment and, at times, became part of the pop culture.

 

This morning I logged onto the Net and found George Carlin was dead. He had passed away yesterday from heart problems at the age of 71.

 

The first time I had heard about him through my parents and friends. I eventually anted-up and bought “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” (an audio version of his “Doin’ It Again,” HBO special). It was my rite-of-passage into the world of comedy. From that point I bought his next two albums and listened to the point where I knew the routines by heart.

 

Being a movie nerd (special interest geek) I remember back to the “Bill and Ted” movies where he played Rufus. He was in on the joke of it all and hey, it was a paycheck. He also played in some of Kevin Smith’s movies notably “Dogma” (as a priest), “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” (as a hitchhiker who knew the rules of the road), and in “Jersey Girl” as Ben Affleck’s dad. Other films include: “Scary Movie 3,” “Cars,” and “Car Wash.”

 

But the real reason that Carlin is known is his comedy. Social and political commentary, religion, human nature, and poking fun at the English language, were all done with acidic humor and wit. Whether he was talking about war (“The bombs and the rockets and the bullets are all shaped like dicks…”) or language (“Sneakers became running shoes. Toilet paper became bathroom tissue…”) or anything else (“A place for all my stuff…”) he knew how to jab at it the right way, making a point and having you agree at the same time.

 

One accomplishment (if you can call it that) was having a Supreme Court case brought against him. In 1973 he was in Wisconsin doing a concert rattling off the “Seven Dirty Words.” Wisconsin radio broadcasted it all (uncensored) and a guy driving down the road with his son in the car were listening to it. He complained, it went to the FCC, the FCC talked with the TV station, Carlin was brought up on obscenity charges, and eventually it went up to the Supreme Court. You can go to your local library and look it up the case; it’s funny to see the seven words listed in a book that contains other, more prestigious, cases.

 

In closing, thank you George for inspiring comedians around the world and for making the rest of us think about the things we take for granted. We’ll miss your satiric thoughts, sharp tongue, and the fact that you could make us laugh our asses off.

 

“Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.” – George Carlin

 

 

For more information, check out the article on Yahoo! At:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080623/ap_on_en_tv/obit_george_carlin

 

For his movie credits, click on the link below:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0137506/

 

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