Tuesday, June 24, 2008


If the "black box" flight recorder is never damaged during a plane crash, why isn't the whole damn airplane made out of that stuff?
Whose cruel idea was it for the word "Lisp" to have a "S" in it?
How is it possible to have a civil war?
---only 3 of the unanswered questions of George Carlin (1937-2008)
I saw him in person only once, but it's embarrassing to relate. It was in the mid-60s and he just was starting the kind of stand-up that eventually would develop into rants on a philosophical level. I don't know if it was in Boston or New York, but he was the warm-up for some other act---and I don't remember who that was. But I remember George. His microphone was loud and had reverb on it, like disc jockeys were starting to use---and he had been one himself, so he could do this DJ voice thing really good. He already had elements of words you can't say, and I remember him shooting them off at the end. I don't think there were all 7 yet, but it was so reminiscent of Lenny Bruce that I thought he must be imitating and wouldn't amount to much. Well, it turns out what he was doing was perfecting.
Bruce and Carlin (and we shouldn't forget Lord Buckley) still were called comedians, but they created their own stuff rather than employ joke writers whose work they'd memorize and deliver. That was hard enough to do and we still love that kind of comedy. How could Henny Youngman remember all those one-liners? George Carlin could have been one of those guys. He was great at making funny faces for instance. But it wasn't enough for him...and I'm not sure humorist really captures what these people do either. He made us ponder things...and now that the show is over, and there'll be no more "Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?", maybe we'll have to come up with some answers.
Here's John Nichols' tribute at The Nation~~~
George Carlin: American Radical posted by John Nichols on 06/23/2008 @ 10:29am
I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately. -- George Carlin
http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat/331953 where there are hyperlinks in the article and comments follow

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