Monday, June 23, 2008

Goodbye George Carlin

I awoke to the news that the world is a little less funny and insightful today. Yesterday George Carlin died. He was the Lenny Bruce of my era. When I was 16 my mom and I had an ongoing battle about how many times I could purchase--and she could throw away--his comedy album "Class Clown". Class Clown contains what is considered to be Carlin's most famous comedy routine "The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Televsion". It was our first family lesson on censorship and the first amendment (yes, it's "officially obscene" according to the FCC and affirmed by the Supreme Court). I can't remember whether my dad just stayed out of this whole mother-daughter drama or not. I still have my "final" copy of the LP--and I dusted it off and played it in Carlin's memory this morning. (Before my daughters woke up naturally.) It still made me laugh until I cried. What a great gift.

Carlin's biggest fans among my teen friends were the Catholic boys. He did have a corner on the market for skewering parochial schools, confessionals, and Catholic dogma--a result of his Catholic upbringing.

Here's a more complete obituary highlighting Carlin's career. Fortunately he lived to know he was awarded the Mark Twain American Humor Award, but unfortunately he did not live to receive it.

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