Monday, June 23, 2008


George Carlin is gone.


Just a couple of days ago I made the Bill Hicks poster for the sidebar. Pete introduced me to Bill's work several years ago. I'm very sad I never saw him perform in person. Bill was a quiet sort of savior, born in an unlikely place for a savior, who grew up with his eyes open, then traveled day after day after day to nudge the common man toward the light. He entertained not with miracles or magic but with language and laughter. He was misunderstood by the mainstream, crucified by the media and left us at the age of thirty two.

Now George, who was a tremendous influence for me in an earlier life. A life of college on a scholarship, working in a morgue, driving an aging MGB and stealing crackers from the school cafeteria to get by. George was there for me in those days, making me cry with laughter and teaching me more about humanity and language than in any humanities class.

I'm a card-carrying atheist to be sure. But I can imagine George awakening in some eternal place, where he'll evolve further or go back for another round, or do whatever it is souls might do upon waking from life's dream.

Possibly Bill is there to greet him. Possibly he just left a note.

Whatever is, that imagining makes me smile, and I'm extremely grateful for these talented and excellent human beings. George, bon voyage.



Rev. Hugh Jass, DDS said...

A hearty YO into the cyber rafters.
Scenarios my friends and I have come up with regarding the desolation that is the comments section for this post..... and when I say my friends, I mean the voices in my head which remind me that pickles are fun.

1. Y'all are in one o''dem 'dere reverent silences. You know ... similar to when Jim Henson or Phil Hartman or site favorite The Reverend Bill Hicks died. Too stunned to respect somebody who made you laugh and think. Somebody who made you aware of the special kind of thinking that happens immediately following laughter. Go ask that person you know with the huge popsicle substructual device imbedded firmly (as my grandma used to blather about after an especially hearty bowl of Primitve Screwhead goulash) up their "food un-hole" what his/her favorite joke is. See how fast they change the subject to last night's American Idol or that game of Tic-tac-toe they won.
George Carlin wasn't one of those guys. He saw. And he knew.

2. Y'all are performing jat'lyn because a warrior is approaching the next level. That level may be a romantic, yet hardy dinner for worms on a very, special night, as opposed to Sto-vo-kor, but George is their now hopefully at rest, weary of this mortal coil.

3. Y'all are performing a jig 'cause you're a right wing tool. Like the time I did when Stan Lee died. Pompous bastard in his smoking jacket. He killed his own creations by smothering them in something that when I close my eyes makes those aforementioned voices take their required union fifteen and are replaced by the unholy sounds of Cthulu devouring a pod of whales. OH JESUS' DAD!!!!!

He's dead. It sucks. Maybe I'll go see a Dane Cook show.

Awwww... much better.... back to pie.

What's that? Stan Lee isn't dead?



Carl V. said...

I mentioned on another site yesterday that I had no idea George Carlin was the age that he was. For some reason he was stuck in some sort of time stasis for me...I would have guessed him in his 50s or early 60s, I think perhaps because I rarely saw him on anything over the past decade.

I don't recall his humor...not really. I know I saw performances on television but I just don't remember them. What I do remember is back when my now 16 year old daughter was a child and I worked an evening shift so that I could watch her during the day. One of our favorite shows to watch together was Shining Time Station, as show that starred Didi Conn. During the first season Ringo Starr was Mr. Conductor and seasons 2-4 saw that role filled by George Carlin. It was a slightly off-beat children's show with some very bizarre puppets that lived and performed inside the juke box whenever folks would put in money. And Mr. Conductor would tell stories. I really enjoyed it and especially enjoyed Carlin. I found it quite funny that he was well known for his off color language and here he was doing a sweet, innocent children's show. I loved it.

lisa said...

rev: well. okay then. I agree. George was brilliant, and irreverent, he did see, and he did know and he loved humanity more than he hated it.

carl: He was great in STS! Some of his earlier work may seem less provocative now than in the less edgy 70's and 80's, but he kept performing ---I saw his special last year. Rent a video or find some clips online and see what he was about. Let me know what you think.

Rubius said...

Actually your post made me go out and look George up on Youtube. I remember reading some of his jokes long ago and laughing hysterically. I am sad to see he is gone. There is quite a lot of stuff about him on Youtube.

lisa said...

rubius: Thank you. I'm not sure he'd care whether he was remembered after leaving us, but I do.