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Monday, June 23

George Carlin - RIP

Damn. Just damn. George Carlin – one of the seminal comic voices of my generation has died. He was 71. That’s just 20 years off my mark. Talk about scary. I met him once, you know - more than thirty years ago. He was promoting his album "On the Road". I had a friend who worked at our local Tower Records – and he got me in for the early meet 'n' greet. I was bowled over by the man - barely able to muster a coherent 'hello'. I was so flustered in fact - I forgot to ask him to sign my album cover.

Before he left - he got out some chalk and scrawled the outline of a body on the cement in front of the store (it was the cover of his album). Tower preserved that until the store was demolished a few years back. That alone was heartbreaking for me. Tower Records was the place to be in the 70’s. Everybody who was anybody in the recording business toured their albums at Tower Record stores.

God I'm bummed about this. I grew up listening to Carlin - and Pryor, and Redd Foxx….not to mention Cheech and Chong (I can still recite 'Basketball Jones' in my sleep). They're all gone now – and who’s around to replace them? Comedy has changed. Oh – I like the satirists (Stewart, Colbert) – but it’s not the same. The irreverence is gone – replaced by a world-weary wink. We were more innocent then – more easily shocked and dismayed by work events. We still believed humanity was basically good, you see. Carlin and his fellow troubadours punctured cynicism’s trial balloons – pointing out where and how the ‘you can’t do that’ people were wrong. Oh George – we are so going to miss you! The world is suddenly a sadder place.

The clip I’ve put up is one of his more recent tirades. Nothing pissed Carlin off more than mendacity at its slimiest. I’d have to agree.

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