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The Passing Of a Comic Genius

Posted by on June 23, 2008

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Today was a particularly sad morning, and not just because I realized it was Monday. I opened my Gmail account to see an email from a friend with a subject line I hoped was some sort of sick joke, “RIP George Carlin”. The body of the email said all that could be said, “Damn shame. At least we got to see him, live”

There is an excellent article about Carlin’s life and misadventures I read on Yahoo News. Click HERE to read it.

George Carlin’s biography and material has molded and influenced some of the greatest stand-up acts of our time. Even Jerry Seinfeld touches on this briefly in his documentary “Comedian”. Good comedy comes from a place of angst and unrest with the world around you. It comes from a strong mind and a strong opinion. (You’ll notice comedians like Dane Cook lack both). Carlin and other great comedians see the absurdity and the senseless acts of genocide and hypocrisy in human life and have used comedy as a voice to speak out.

George’s typical routines center around his disdain for religion, the unaccountable nature of politics, and overall commentary on the state of societies the world over.

George Carlin was certainly the consummate cynic, but he’s probably done more to change the point of view of North Americans than any cheerleader for positivity ever has. Sure Extreme Make Over- Home Edition may give you a new house and a roof over your head, but Carlin will make sure you’re paying more attention to your kids and the things that matter in life instead of your new 50″ Plasma TV and Cadillac Escalade.

Its been said that George Carlin has not only made us laugh for almost 40 years, but he’s been making us think as well. Carlin seemed to take a specific pride in his ability to finger point the backwardness in what humans prioritize and associate with value. In pointing out these absurdities George always claimed, “When you’re born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front-row seat.”

Several great lessons in hypocrisy I’ve always enjoyed are in bits Carlin have called “Pro-Life is Anti-Women” and The Sanctity Of life (I’ll put these clips at the bottom of the post as well).

At one point, Carlin mentions how Catholics are primarily against abortion, and also very against homosexuality, “Well, who has less abortions than homosexuals?!? Leave these fuckin’ people alone. They are guaranteed to NEVER have an abortion. You think these two sides would be logical allies.” Seriously, take 15 minutes and watch these clips from beginning to end, they’re hilarious. Its easy to see Carlin’s genius at work within the wording, reasoning, and language he chooses in his act. Well, unless of course its your opinions he’s taking aim at, then you’ll likely be royally pissed off. But I think that is what good comedy is. It states a strong and intelligent opinion and doesn’t apologize for it. And if you feel strongly enough to get angry and upset, hopefully you’ll take a moment to evaluate what you’ve heard and see if your own views stand up according.

So I’d like to take this post to say a big Thank You and Goodbye to George Carlin for providing many generations of thinking and reasoning teenagers and adults with ways to laugh at the world around us. Because its typically those that notice there are things to laugh at that are willing to try to make it better. Even if its one person or one show at a time.

Thank You Mr. Carlin.

To get a full picture of George Carlin’s Life and Entertainment Career, WikiPedia also has a full and seemingly accurate write-up.

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