We knew it was coming, and his last few appearances on TV have been pretty telling. The guy’s been on stage, entertaining us, our parents, our grandparents for decades. That heart can only take so much, you know. How appropriate – heart failure. My guess is George just got tired. And can you blame him – fighting idiocy, and observing the morons who surround him every day. There are no others like you, George. I’m sorry you got tired of all of us. We should have tried harder to be decent beings.
You’ll probably read about his famous ‘7 dirty words’ routine, and even though that’s a classic bit, Carlin has been defining humour for longer than that – his sketch on advertising, his views on parenting, war, political correctness, customer service – they span cultures. What I’m trying to say is that you cannot just sum up a man like that in one bit.
From every decade, every presidency, you can pull out his stand-up, and it will define the time and place for you. He mocked, but he did so with love, and a bit of disappointment. What many thought was anger, was actually frustration. And you can only be frustrated by the things you care about.
The tributes will keep pouring in, and the CD sales will go through the roof. I saw him live very late in his career, when his content (and spirits) were not as sharp as before, but despite all that, George is always going to be like an uncle who didn’t really say anything new about the world to you, but said it in a way that it stuck in your head.
I’m hoping Carlin’s punchlines and observations stay in my mind for a long time. Comedians will change, and jokes will be recycled. His stuff doesn’t age, and doesn’t dull. He is timeless – which is a sad reality on many levels.
We’ll miss you.
HBO and NBC will air Carlin specials this week.
HBO will remember George Carlin this week with encore presentations of many of his HBO specials. The specials span his association with the network, from his first HBO special (George Carlin at USC) to his last (It’s Bad for Ya).
George Carlin: It’s Bad for Ya, which debuted on the network in March, will be seen on the main HBO channel this Friday, June 27 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT).
In addition, HBO2 will present 11 of his specials over two nights. The HBO2 schedule is (all times ET/PT):
Wednesday, June 25
8:00 p.m. George Carlin at USC (1977)
9:30 p.m. George Carlin Again! (1978)
11:00 p.m. Carlin at Carnegie (1983)
midnight Carlin on Campus (1984)
1:00 a.m. Playin’ with Your Head (1986)
Thursday, June 26
8:00 p.m. What Am I Doing in New Jersey? (1988)
9:00 p.m. Doin’ It Again (1990)
10:00 p.m. Jammin’ in New York (1992)
11:00 p.m. Back in Town (1996)
12:05 a.m. You Are All Diseased (1999)
1:00 a.m. It’s Bad for Ya (2008)
NBC’S “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE ” REMEMBERS
GEORGE CARLIN THIS WEEKEND
SNL Honors Legendary Comedian George Carlin, Re-Airing Its 1975 Premiere Episode with Carlin as Host
NEW YORK June 24, 2008. As hilarious and heartfelt tributes pour in marking the passing of groundbreaking comedian George Carlin, “Saturday Night Live” pays tribute on Saturday, June 28 (11:30 p.m.-1:00 a.m. ET), re-airing its premiere episode that featured Carlin as host.
Remembering Carlin, “Saturday Night Live” creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels noted: “You never forget the people who were there at the beginning. George Carlin helped give ‘Saturday Night Live’ its start as our first host. He was gracious, fearless, and most important of all, funny.”
Typifying the show’s “of-the-moment” sensibility that would continue throughout its over thirty-year history, Carlin was brought in as the first host of the groundbreaking comedy show. Carlin performed three individual monologues on the program that also introduced audiences to the now legendary “Not Ready For Prime-Time Players” – Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Larraine Newman and Gilda Radner.
The 1975 episode also features musical guests Janis Ian and Billy Preston as well as a landmark performance from comedian Andy Kaufman.