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Monday, June 23, 2008

R.I.P. GEORGE CARLIN (1937-2008)

Comedy legend George Carlin has died, and I have to be honest and say that during his heyday in the mid-1970's I never saw why people found him funny. His work mostly seemed to me to be a stoner-era variation on standard observational humor with more coarse language than that used by his predecessors, and at times I felt he came off like a vaguely interesting uncle holding drunken court at a family gathering. Richard Pryor's humor appealed to me much more than Carlin's efforts, so for years I ignored Carlin’s work and slagged him off as concrete proof that you had to be high to enjoy the majority of 1970’s comedy.

Then Carlin hit his autumn years and developed a nihilistic and cynical worldview that I could really get with, but it was when he began to rail against something that has driven me crazy since childhood that I became a convert to his latter-day material. Carlin’s diatribes on religion and its inherent hypocrisies greatly appealed to me, and I wonder how many fans he gained thanks to that material while possibly simultaneously losing members of his original fan base. So while I may have been late to get on the bandwagon, I do respect what Carlin did and meant to the world of American comedy. For more on George Carlin, go to his entry on the mighty Wikipedia, and check out a sample of his views on religion over at good ol’ YouTube.

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