George Carlin passed away Sunday afternoon at 5:55 pm, in a Santa Monica hospital of heart failure at the age of 71. He had multiple heart issues over the last few years and went into the hospital complaining of heart issues. This last terrible curtain call comes as no real surprise, though it still runs you over like a silent bulldozer.
As his website says, he was born May 12th, 1937, “and God Winces“.
In his early years he partnered with Jack Burns (1959) and they did radio programs, a few TV shows, Coffee houses. The usual fare for a comedian. In 1962 they parted ways to pursue independent careers. In 1970 he decided to quit running around in the standard shirt and tie ensemble, grew his beard, pulled on some tattered jeans and went liberal, speaking his mind. It took a while to catch on, but boy did it.
In January of 1972, his album FM & AM hit the public. It included some of his more famous routines like The Hair Poem, Divorce Game, the ever popular Shoot (Sh** with two O’s), and Let’s Make A Deal. The album went gold, and earned the rebel comedian a Grammy award. That must have ticked off the other straight shooters in the industry!
On May 27, 1972 he recorded the infamous Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV skit for the album Class Clown and we all know how well that went.
Carlin got himself arrested for violating obscenity laws on July 21, 1972 for performing his “seven words” skit at the Summerfest in Milwaukee.
Afterwards, his then-controversial Seven Dirty Words skit was the focus of a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case that granted the government the right to regulate Carlin’s act on public airwaves. There’s nothing better than a lawsuit to bring you some press and give you new material, once you survive the lawsuit.
In 2001, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 15th Annual American Comedy Awards for all his hard work at tearing down the outlines of civility and starting “stuff” with the feds.
Though George Lopez was the one who motivated me to start up in Stand Up, (I did SU for a few years), George Carlin was the inspiration to the sarcastic edge in my humor through all of my youthful years, followed up in a close second by Robin Williams and Tom Servo.
One of my favorite, inspiring routines of Carlins’ was Al Sleet, the “hippie-dippie weatherman” whose timeless forecast resonates with us every day: “Tonight’s forecast: Dark. Continued dark throughout most of the evening, with some widely-scattered light towards morning.” That will never get old for me… being it’s one of the most accurate weather forecasts you’ll ever hear.
My other favorite routine was the “Good Sport” routine. A routine where he “meets” a girl at a party, and some months later, he gets “that call” no guy wants to get.
His daughter, Kelly Carlin McCall had the following to say about her dad: “Most people know George Carlin as an icon of comedy and an advocate of free speech. I just know him as Dad,” and she went on to say, “He taught me the value of speaking the truth in a world that doesn’t always want to hear it.”
His wife, Sally Wade said “He was my soul mate and always will be. Tomorrow (June 24th) is our tenth anniversary, and it was the best ten years of my life.” She further went on to say, “I wish to express my sincere thanks and prayers to all who have reached out during this very difficult time. It is deeply appreciated.”
Carlin entertained us with more than 20 comedy albums, 14 HBO shows, a bunch of TV and movie roles, and three best-selling books.
He is survived by his wife, Sally Wade; daughter, Kelly Carlin McCall; and older brother, Patrick Carlin.
He passed at 5:55 on 6/22 and I’m still waiting for him to sit up and totally tear us a new one for falling for this, because it’s hard to let go.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and fans of George Carlin, from ScreenRant.
Sources: George Carlin.com, ET Online