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.