On this day, the legendary comedian George Carlin passed away. We’ve dedicated this article to taking a look back on comedian George Carlin and how he revolutionised the stand up comedy scene.
Around 2013, I had first heard of comedian George Carlin through a friend. He proclaimed his comedy to be hysterical and philosophical but most importantly, honest. Initially when I watched a clip of Carlin, I hated him. I didn’t get his humour at all. Back then I was very closed minded and I thought it was pretty offensive and stupid. However, back then I also believed in the church. As I grew older I started to relate to Carlins comedy more and more.
Only then did I finally see the picture. Although many associate comedy with silliness and an act, Carlin took a different approach. He spoke the obscene truth. As he put it “when you’re born, you get a ticket to the freak show” out of this Carlin simply reported human behavior in a comical way. But fundamentally, under the comedy is truth. But who would pay attention to what a comedian has to say? They’re no different than clowns. I believe this to be one of the reasons why Carlin is one of the greatest underground thinkers ever.
Background of comedian George Carlin.
According to IMDB;
George Denis Patrick Carlin was born and raised in Manhattan, New York City, to Mary (Bearey), a secretary, and Patrick John Carlin, an advertising manager for The Sun; they had met while working in marketing. His father was from Donegal, Ireland, and his mother was Irish-American. His parents divorced when he was two months old, and he was raised by his mother. The long hours the mother worked left the young George by himself for long hours every day, providing him (in his own words), the time he needed to think about various subjects, listen to radio, and practice his impersonations, that where acclaimed by his mother and coworkers since an early age.
Carlin started out as a conventional comedian and had achieved a fair degree of success as a Bill Cosby style raconteur in nightclubs and on TV until the late 1960s, when he radically overhauled his persona. His routines became more insightful, introducing more serious subjects. As he aged, he became more cynic and bitter.
This new George Carlin, usually referred to as the late George Carlin, is one of the most acclaimed and enjoyed by the public and critics. Carlin’s forte is Lenny Bruce-style social and political commentary, spiced with nihilistic observations about people and religion peppered with black humor. He is also noted for his masterful knowledge and use of the English language. Carlin’s notorious “Seven Dirty Words” comedy routine was part of a radio censorship case that made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978.
The truth made George Carlin great
Often times I find myself in quarls with online keyboard warriors. Sometimes even the politically correct in person. Many of times they tell me, “you can’t say those things”. And more often then not, they refuse to try and understand the context of a situation. I believe Carlin was the first to touch on this in one of his most famous bits;
Numerous of comedians went on to create their own iteration of this bit such as Bill Burr and Louis C.K:
All the time I tell people that words are cheap. Nobody should be judged by what they say but more so what they do and how they treat people. That defines who they really are. Comedians understand this most. We invented language to communicate with each other. Words are therefore meaningless. We interpret things very subjectively. The way you can read something could be said very differently.
Never take this shit seriously. Pay attention to the context.
But theres more…
The reason Carlins comedy has become more relatable throughout the years is because societal obersations that he made in America at the time have spread to different cultures. Check out this clip on the American dream and tell me that some of the stuff he says doesn’t relate to your country
But Carlin’s career, and his comedy, was anything but a downer. He was unique among stand-ups of his era in remaining a top-drawing comedian for more than 40 years, with virtually no help from movies or TV sitcoms. His influence can be seen everywhere from the political rants of Lewis Black to the observational comedy of Jerry Seinfeld. He showed that nothing — not the most sensitive social issues or the most trivial annoyances of everyday life — was off-limits for smart comedy. And he helped bring stand-up comedy to the very center of American culture and the rest of the world
It has never left.
SJB & GQ.
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