I was saddened to learn of the passing of one of my heros, George Carlin. George was very influential to me personally and to the world far beyond the realm of entertainment. With twenty comedy albums to his credit and twelve HBO specials. Carlin was easily the most influential comedian of our time. He was a member of a very small fraternity of comedians who transcended being an entertainer and entered the realm of philosopher. George sought not only to make us laugh, but to make us do something many Americans are loath to do today. “Think!”
Carlin’s longevity during his fifty year career, was due in no small part to his ability to remake himself. Starting as a middle class standup comedian, then becoming a hippy and counterculture icon touring the coffee houses and universities during the 60’s and 70’s. Then a more critical social/political commentator during the 80’s and early 90s and finally the funny, bitter old curmudgeon. All the time taking longtime fans with him and inspiring a entire generation of upcoming comedians.
So where does the everything worth learning about life part some in?
Upon reaching the “Age of Reason” I discovered Carlin’s comedy routines and discovered that while I was laughing, I was also thinking and while Carlin’s stand-up was funny it was so well thought out and his command of the english language so great. That the staunchest debater would fall before his reason.
- Question Everything!
Our Leaders, Institutions, Theories and Beliefs are not above being examined and re-evaluated on a regular basis. Those that say they are above criticism really need a good review. Because those are the ones with the largest holes. Notice I didn’t say disbelieve in the aforementioned “Leaders, Institutions and or Theories/Beliefs”
- Love what you do.
During his career Carlin kept a travel schedule that would have tired a gypsy. Two hundred days a year performing on the road. Constantly honing is craft and writing new material to perform in venues all across the country. It was clear he loved what he did so much that he was a perfectionist about his material.
- Never rest on your laurels.
Most when reaching Carlins level of fame would have coasted, phoning in performances year after year. That was not Carlin’s way. He would always stretch into new areas with his material. A lot of the themes he touched on were the same from performance to performance but how he approached them was always from a different angle. This made for very little repetitive material.
- If someone says “Don’t talk about that subject” then it’s probably the only thing worth talking about.
Carlin made people think about subjects that they were often not comfortable with. Death, Rape, Religion and Politics just to name a few. He would approach them in a way what was so logically thought out that most people had one of two reactions. They would laugh, because they had not thought of the subject in that way much less that it was funny at all. Or they would get mad poke out their lip and say something that a third grader may use as a verbal defense.
- If your have no humor your dangerous.
If you have no sense of humor about yourself or your beliefs. Then you are a very dangerous person. Fundamentalism breeds no irony. September 11th was carried out by such people. The last 8 years of government in this country was carried out by such people.