Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Class Clown-R.I.P. George Carlin

Ok, so I'll be 1,000,001 blog to post about the passing of George Carlin. You know why? Because the guy did more to shape my worldview then any other public figure I can think of. I vividly remember my young, impressionable self sifting through my step-father's album collection and pulling out Carlin's-"Class Clown". After the final track on Side 2 ended ("Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television"), I was forever changed. (Carlin was arrested in 1972 at Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI for doing that exact bit.) After listening to some Carlin, I felt as if I was seeing the world in color instead of the black and white I was used to.

It is easy to take for granted now, but Carlin redefined what you could and couldn't talk about in public. Following in Lenny Bruce's footsteps, George Carlin had no desire to keep things safe and pleasant for his audience. While he was ALWAYS funny, his material usually had a serious tone to it. It wasn't always sweet and it wasn't always easy to hear. This is what made him so special for me. His disdain for materialism, group think, religious hypocrisy, politicians, etc, always fueled his fire. His complete social awareness made him the most fascinating comic of our time. Every comic onstage today railing against something owes everything to Carlin.

To quote my friend Jeff Davis, the world is a lot less funny today. And a lot less challenged. Rest in peace George.

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