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.
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