Monday, June 23, 2008
A legend in his own time
I just learned that comedian/actor/author and all around jackass and one of my favorite comedians, George Carlin, passed away due to heart failure on Sunday.
George’s career began in the 1960’s, most notably on the Ed Sullivan Show (yeah, I’m too young to remember that, too). He was also the first host of NBC’s Saturday Night Live (who remembers when SNL was actually funny and not just a springboard for any no talent comedian/actor’s acting careers?) His “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine was one of his most popular and probably most controversial, netting him a charge of indecency.
On a personal note, despite his cult status and anti-establishment routines, my clearest memories of George are as the sage-like Rufus from the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure film, and as the golf obsessed Roman Catholic cardinal behind the “Buddy Christ” marketing scheme for the Catholic Church in the Kevin Smith film, Dogma. The role of Rufus seemed more like a "thanks for the paycheck" role, while the cardinal was infused with all of Carlin's disdain for religion in general, playing the role of someone oblivious to their own ridiculousness.
In an age of Dane Cook’s, Mike Myers, and Lisa Lampanelli’s, George was one of the few comedians that actually said something worth hearing. His routines were not vulgar for vulgarities sake, but rather it drew you in and you were then hooked by his insightful routines on politics (“…an illusion of choice…”), religion ("There is no God"), and humanity ("I think we're already 'circling the drain' as a species, and I'd love to see the circles get a little faster and a little shorter"). The world is too bright and shiny without you, George.
In honor of George, here are the seven words he was originally fined by the utterly useless FCC for uttering on television:
Also, here is a link to the entire routine on YouTube.
George is survived by his daugher, Kelly.