Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin R.I.P.

The death of George Carlin is a little bit of a punch in the gut. He's one of those people who, when they die, you think to yourself, "Wait a minute, that can't be right. George Carlin has always been around, and he's always going to be around." I suppose it isn't that shocking; Carlin has always been known to have a bad ticker, and it's not as if he was the fitness king or anything.

Along with I'm sure must be thousands of people today, I'm posting a couple of his routines, the first being the famous "baseball and football" comparison. It's been around for so long that it's almost a cliche, but think of it as a great rock 'n roll song from the sixties that still sounds as good today as it did on the day it was released.

And then, a bit that is most definitely not safe for work - Carlin's commentary on why white people should never try to sing the blues.

My all-time favorite Carlin routine is "Shoot," from his AM/FM album. You can buy it on, and it's well worth the 99 cents it will cost you. It's Carlin's thoughts on sh*t, and when I heard for the first time at age 13, I thought it was just about the funniest thing I'd ever heard in my life. My friends Ron and Richard were mortified that I insisted on playing it for my parents, but I told them not to worry, that they'd think it was funny. And they did, because it was.

Carlin's HBO programs were invariably brilliant, if not always hysterically funny. In recent years, his social commentary had come to be just as valuable as the funny stuff, and when he was on, he was able to combine the two into something that transcended both comedy and social commentary. Because of his history, he could get away with vicious routines attacking political correctness that in lesser hands might have gotten someone banned from performing altogether.

What's really sad is that we'll never get to hear what he would have had to say about this presidential election. I'm sure it would have been worth staying up for.
He was one of the great ones. R.I.P.

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