GEORGE CARLIN (1937-2008)
Comedian and social satirist George Carlin passed away on June 22, in California, of heart failure. He had battled heart and other health problems since the 1970's. Carlin was 71.
Beginning his long career as a radio disc jockey in the 1950's, Carlin soon joined another comedian as part of a stand-up duo act, then later branched out on his own, where he developed his biting social wit and unique satirical style over the years. His immortal routine, "The Seven Words You Can't Say On Television," first performed in the 1960's, launched him into comedic superstardom and even led to a Supreme Court decision in the 1980s. Although the routine would seem tame by today's looser standards, it was years ahead of its time when Carlin created it.
He pushed the envelope of decency many times in his career, but offended few people, really, because he was always funny. Carlin had the gift of making you laugh at yourself, without really insulting you. What he said was most often so true, and couldn't be denied. He was at his best with his socio-political satire, and he targeted everything and everyone, from big government, to environmental extremists, to terrorists. Many of the politicians he joked about the most were some of his biggest fans. George Carlin was always making you laugh, but he could also make you think and that will always be his legacy. He will be much missed.
Here is a small sampling of the wit of George Carlin, over the years: