Goodnight, George Carlin

Wow. 2008 is shaping up to be a terrible year for celebrity deaths. The last thing I expected when I turned on the news this morning, was to learn that legendary comedian George Carlin was dead.

Carlin, age 71, succumbed to heart failure on Sunday evening.

Angry, biting, but always funny — the man who hosted the very first episode of Saturday Night Live in 1975 was the consummate counterculture touring comedian. It’s one of my regrets that I never saw him perform live, although his 14 HBO comedy specials took his profane performances into homes throughout the US and around the world — including my own in Trinidad, where our family always enjoyed his work. I admired his dazzling wordplay, his outspoken opinions, and his take-no-prisoners, tell it like it is attitude to life (although he would probably take umbrage with my no-cursing policy… the man who dared to utter the seven words you can’t say on television didn’t take kindly to censorship of any form).

There’s a surfeit of stellar George Carlin clips on YouTube to enjoy, so click here for a great mix of his classic and more recent material.

George Carlin wasn’t known for holding any kind of religious belief — he was actually pretty anti-religion, so his attitude towards death was as curmudgeonly as you might expect… but as he said, he didn’t believe in an “up there,” where people could smile down on living people. Wherever he winds up — if there is in fact an afterlife — I hope Mr. Carlin can relax and take a harp lesson.

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Comments

  1. Yes, 2008 is shaping up to be a sucky year with death/other assorted bad things happening to people I truly enjoy in the media and entertainment fields. *Sigh* I watched his HBO specials over the years and always thought the man was spot-on in many of his observations–he had this bit about rounding up all the wackos in society and putting them in “the square states that no one uses” LOL So wherever it is that Mr. Carlin envisioned himself being in the afterlife, here’s hoping he’s making them laugh.

  2. I hadn’t seen his HBO specials, but I thought he was hilarious from his books. I used to work in a bookstore, and he had this page-a-day calendar with his quotes. The one I remember most said something about him never telling someone that he hopes to have a good weekend because by the time the weekend is over, he may wish to have them slain. LOL! What is up with the heart attacks?

  3. I hadn’t seen his HBO specials, but I thought he was hilarious from his books. I used to work in a bookstore, and he had this page-a-day calendar with his quotes. The one I remember most said something about him never telling someone that he hopes to have a good weekend because by the time the weekend is over, he may wish to have them slain. LOL! What is up with the heart attacks?

  4. I’ll always remember the man from Sunday mornings with my little bro watching Shining Time Station :)

  5. I always liked George for his willingness to tell the truth. I liked alot of his earlier work better, but no one was willing to put it out there like he did. He will be missed.

  6. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    Very sad news may he rest in peace.

  7. Saw him on HBO’s “f..k” documentary & he was great as usual! RIP George.

  8. Thanks for this post. I’m a Christian and a life-long Carlin fan as well, and I did my own little tribute to the man, from a similar-but-different perspective. Thought you might be interested.

    Grace and Peace,
    Raffi Shahinian
    Parables of a Prodigal World

  9. Sumatra77 says:

    Love him or hate him, he was friggin’ hilarious.
    Really didn’t see that coming. Wow!
    All these heart disease related deaths are really making me nervous!

  10. it is extremely sad that he wasn’t saved, in my opinion, because i am a Christian and i believe in heaven and hell.
    well, he rejected Jesus, soo… i can’t really know where he is because i am not the ultimate judge. may he rip, tho

  11. gerr, I agree. I was thinking the exact same thing.

  12. as mother of a preschooler, i became most familiar with Carlin after hours and hours of the raspy, but even-keeled narrator of the Thomas the Engine series. i never got into his comedy, but i immediately thought of Thomas.

  13. BlkButtaFlyy says:

    George Carlin was hilarious….*buddy Jesus* lol

  14. HBO is airing all of his specials this week. They are definitely worth the Tivo space.

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