George Carlin passed away yesterday at the age of 71.
One of the comedic greats of our time is now lost to us. From his humble beginings in NYC, to his international fame as a comedian and actor, he provided everyone he ever met, or ever saw him work, hours upon hours of entertainment. Not only has become part of the greater American consciousness, but his influence will be felt for many, many years to come.
One of the great things about Carlin, and his routines, was that he had a very broad based appeal. Your race, color, creed, religion, or politics didn’t matter. He was completely irreverant, taking on anyone, anywhere, at any time. No discrimination allowed, as everyone needs to be taken down a notch or two once in a while. He himself often defied definition. He was mainstream, he was counter-cultural, he was a “guerrila comedian,” he was an “establishment” comedian, he was all of those things and none. He simply was George Carlin.
I shoudl note that the past few years have not been kind to George. His last two HBO specials were not even close to up to par. Though the last one was better than it’s immediate predecessor. What was worse, was the Carlin looked old. Like age had suddenly crept up on him and whacked him with the age stick. Repeatedly. The HBO special from a few years ago was really where you can see it. He was lethargic on stage. He didn’d sound like Carlin, more like some grumpy old man shouting “Get off my lawn.” It was a flat, and unfunny performance (but it did have its moments). His last special was better, but you could still see that time was fast catching up with George.
People have been talking about his routines all day long. Even ESPN got in on the act, running his comparison between Football and Baseball. MOst stations and networks are referring to his “Seven Dirty Words” monologue (which grew over the years BTW), as it gets the FCC into a tizzy, and titilates the viewers. But that’s not his greatest bit IMO. No, that belongs to his exposition on “Stuff.”
Fans will immediately know of what I speak. The rest of you will need an explanation (apologies to Dennis Leary). I don’t remember when Carlin first did this bit, I’m too lazy to look it up, and it doesn’t really matter. The essence of it was that we keep getting stuff, and need bigger places to put our stuff. Even when we try to get rid of stuff, we end up not with less stuff, just newer stuff. There’s a bit that references garage/yard sales as well. I’m also too lazy to search YouTube for a clip of this. But if someone sends me a link, I’ll put it up.
So farewell George. We will forever remember the Hippy Dippy weatherman, silly news breaks during a performance, Seven Dirty Words, and all about Stuff.