If you’re a fan of stand-up comedy then there is no doubt that you’ve heard about the great George Carlin. He shot 14 specials with HBO that were a mix of harsh jabs and crass humor and even hosted the very first episode of Saturday Night Live.
Carlin was a renowned social critic that didn’t pull his punches when it came to topics he wanted off of his chest. His career gave birth to many motivational and humorous quotes. In this list, we will go over the 10 best George Carlin quotes.
10 “That’s Why They Call It The American Dream. Because You Have To Be Asleep To Believe It”
As a social critic, Carlin made a lot of jabs at many of America’s political institutions. These jabs were run-offs that would often bleed over into other related topics to further drive home his points. Carlin was never a believer in the American Dream, and this quote was one of many that cemented his stance against it. His skepticism in it leads him to warn others of the dangers of chasing such a lie, stating that richer men are in a place to keep that from ever really happening.
9 “Never Underestimate The Power Of Stupid People In Large Groups”
Another political jab that was aimed at not only the political organizations but the public that supported it. Carlin was a believer that each individual was exceptionally smart, but grouping them together would see their values easily manipulated from politicians. He once again states his disdain for the politicians, but only before pointing a finger at the audience and explaining that they were from American families. Many were left insulted at his implication, but George’s reasoning was we are responsible for who we put in office, and what events follow.
8 “The Main Reason Santa Is So Jolly Is Because He Knows Where All The Bad Girls Live”
Carlin was known for his crude humor, and this line may have ruined a few kids Christmases over the years. His profane language and crass jokes were what landed him on the map, and kept him there due to the transparency his acts and opinions drew. Not a fan of censorship, Carlin would routinely say some downright raunchy things to make many “prudes” uncomfortable. With other examples of his humor being a bit stemming from the “7 Words You Can’t Say On TV” Carlin wasn’t a stranger to very adult humor.
7 “If You Tried To Fail And Succeed, Which Have You Done?”
Many people don’t expect a somewhat motivational quote from Carlin, but he understood that honest criticism often comes with motivation to do better. Despite his comedic/sarcastic personality, Carlin had a deep want for others to fully enjoy life with some of his quotes having philosophical routes. This little quote has left many people inspired to fail by reminding them that it is only a small step in success. It’s a bit different from the crass humor that made him famous, but he always took the time to drop a motivational truth bomb.
6 “Religion Is Like A Pair Of Shoes. Find One That Fits For You, But Don’t Make Me Wear Your Shoes”
Even though Carlin wasn’t the hugest fan of religion he realized that being a pompous jerk to believers would make him the very thing he stood against. Even though he didn’t believe in God as an Atheist, he understood why someone would, and how important it is for them to have that choice. His only problem is having a religion forced on him and states that’s one of the main reasons he isn’t a subscriber to any of them. It’s not something that many people were fans of hearing, with their beliefs that America is a Christian nation.
5 “Think Of How Stupid The Average Person Is And Realize Half Of Them Are Stupider Than That”
The disappointment in Carlin’s voice when he delivered this line is what helped sell it. This was a somewhat direct insult that encompassed 2/3rds of Earth's population and left just as many insulted as it did laughing. Carlin again explains that the average person is responsible for many of the problems that society is facing, and their ignorance of the fact leads them to fix the problems with temporary solutions. You could tell it was something he had wanted to get off his chest, even if it meant that he would insult a fair share of his audience.
4 “Atheism Is A Non-Prophet Organization”
Carlin routinely referenced his Atheism during his bits, and like many other of his statements he used it to drive a point. He understood that a good portion of his audience would ultimately be Christian, and would need to explain his side comically while arguing against many of their fundamentals. Carlin knew that nobody likes a militant atheist, but one that is willing to make occasional jokes at their beliefs can leave staunch advocates a bit more open to discuss their opinions. The joke landed so well that many churches will even post it on their signs
3 “Isn’t It A Bit Unnerving That All Doctors Call What They Do “Practice”?”
This is another one of Carlin’s infamous jokes, but we think he’s got the definition just a tad bit wrong. Dictonary.com defines the word as a “habitual or customary performance” When you really think about it, most doctors are going to come across the same medical problem pretty frequently, which means that they will often use the same treatment or methods for their patients. The word stems from the Middle English word that directly translates to “practical” So while we understand what Carlin meant, he missed his mark.
2 “Don’t Sweat The Petty Things, And Don’t Pet The Sweaty Things”
This is known as a second-order book that was spun off of a very famous book of the time period called Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff (And It’s All Small Stuff) which was marketed for people to help them overcome stressing about minor inconveniences. These inconveniences were daily tasks or troubles, and Carlin knew the dangers of doing this for an extended amount of time. It’s another criticism that serves to help those keep calm, and take in all of the good things they have going for them, even if they don’t necessarily have that many.
1 “The Caterpillar Does All The Work, But The Butterfly Gets All The Publicity”
Carlin gave a nod to the common man with this quote, stating that they essentially did all the work while the politicians and businesses take all the credit. This was another social jab that doubles as motivation to make a serious change with how the average man is viewed by both society and themselves. This quote is still relevant today, with a good example being Mark Zuckerberg for taking the credit for Facebook’s revolutionary features that were worked on by many. You may remember the lead actress of a movie, but do you remember its creative director?