Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: George Carlin

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin

Word has come through this evening that George Carlin, a wondrously iconoclastic comedian, died earlier today of heart failure. He's been at this for a long time, starting out almost 50 years ago as part of a comedy duo with Jack Burns. I once saw an album they did in a used record store and was surprised to see a clean-cut Carlin in a jacket and tie. He later went heavily into counter-culture style, which is what I remember. I'm not sure if I first became aware of him by seeing the FM & AM or the Class Clown album, but it was that hippy persona that stuck with me. He didn't seem to be afraid to go after anyone or anything, but he also had a lot of insightful material about language and how it worked. His most famous and significant routine, which went to the Supreme Court, combined both of those aspects of his work. Rather than go on at any length, I'll just supply a link to that routine on YouTube to enjoy it yourself. (Although I should point out that, as you might guess, it's not particularly work safe.) And after you watch that, hang around in YouTube a while longer, clicking on as much of the other Carlin material as you have time for.

Goodbye, George. We'll miss your cynicism and your courage.


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