Monday, June 23, 2008


It had to happen eventually. George Carlin died Sunday.

I spoke with the man once, a couple of years back. He was supposed to play the Civic Center. I did my usual song and dance and got him on the phone for an interview.

I always compare other comedians and other interviews with comedians I do to George Carlin. Carlin was funny on the phone. He was Carlin. He didn't switch into some decaf version of himself, as if he was trying to save up the person he intended to be for the paying crowd (aka Lewis Black, Martin Short and Aries Spears). From my thirty minutes with him, Carlin was Carlin. He was a little abrasive, a bit arrogant, but honest and funny when it moved him, which it did often.

The irony of the interview with Carlin was he canceled the show in Charleston, due to health problems. That year, I was the only person in Charleston who even got a sample of the man live. One of the few guilty perks of doing what I do. I got something nobody else got and it meant a lot to me.

I started listening to Carlin when I was 14. A friend of mine had a tape and we listened to it until we practically wore the thing out. In college, Carlin's run-in with the law over his famous seven words you can't say on television and radio, was taught as part of the course. It was in the textbook. Carlin was kind of a living patron saint among the radio people and the non-news communications people. I certainly drew on him when I first started writing for my college paper as a columnist. I learned from him. Funny could be profound. Philosophy could be silly.

He'll be missed.


The Film Geek said...

Good post.

I envy your speaking to Carlin, even for a bit. He was one of the people who taught me to think more critically.

Brooklyn said...

Thanks for sharing, Bill. Carlin will certainly be missed. Thankfully he left an incredible legacy of comedy in print, video and digital forms.

Think I'll tear into a bag of Cheese Tits in his honor.