George Carlin (1937-2008)

Lots of tributes pouring in for comedian George Carlin who died on Sunday, June 22 at the age of 71. 

Carlin was one of the first comedians I ever heard about as a kid, along with Bill Cosby and Cheech & Chong. Of course Cosby’s comedy was and is more about family and kids growing up.  And Cheech & Chong were mostly about drugs. 

But what always set Carlin apart, as many commentators have observed, was his incisive and sarcastic social commentary.  Even is (in)famous Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television routine from 1972, which as a kid I enjoyed just for the transgressive thrill of rattling them off, was about the absurdity of censorship.  Those seven words are banned on network television to this day.  Plus ca change.

I think that’s also what enabled him to stay relevant over such a long career.  He just kept at it, right up to the day he died. 

A man who did what he loved, made us laugh at ourselves, and gave us something to think about. 

Now that’s a life well lived.

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