Tuesday, June 24

Life Is Worth Losing.

Hero.

Some brief words on the passing of George Carlin.

Last week, it was announced that The Kennedy Center was to award George Carlin with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor; the greatest award that a humorist can receive, and only the 11th recipient of the award overall. This was to recognize his 50+ years of performing and contributions to the world of Comedy. Despite the nature of his act, I know without question that Mr. Carlin would have been gracious and humble to accept it, and it was a shame that he passed away before the ceremony.

From a personal standpoint, I consider George Carlin to be one of my greatest influences. Not necessarily concerning comedy, writing or performing, but my personality and outlook overall. Carlin made me realize that everything needed to be questioned, authority didn't have to be respected, religion didn't have to be believed and the freedom of speech needed to be upheld. The traditions and iconic figures (including Carlin himself) that we hold so dear need to be held up to the microscope and examined, in the hopes of finding the true meaning of life; that we're here to enjoy the show. Be nice to those around you and do what you can to make a better life for yourself and your loved ones, but don't fear judgment and don't be afraid to ask questions.

George Carlin made me realize that the greatest comics do so much more than tell jokes. As a 12-year-old, I remember discovering 70's Carlin material by rooting through my uncle's record collection while visiting my cousin for a weekend (along with Steve Martin and Rodney Dangerfield, among others). His pinpoint delivery and borderline-slapstick mixed with social commentary, one right after the next, absolutely blew me away. It wasn't the profanity and occasional 'obscene' nature of Carlin's work that impressed me so much as a kid, it was the way that he did everything so seamlessly, had a specific point of view and had a brilliant way of making people understand the absurdity of our own existence. Carlin was a true genius.

At the age of 70, a point where most men would be happy (and fortunate enough) to live a healthy life of quiet retirement, Carlin recorded his 14th HBO comedy special, which turned out to be one of his best in a decade. When fans of Carlin's work silently worried that the old man had lost his edge and social relevance, he once again defied expectation and created a fitting and astoundingly brilliant final masterwork. The drive and intelligence of this man was astounding; we should all be so lucky to continue to form new viewpoints and remain so current and bright at the age of 70.

One of the things that I'll miss about Carlin was his off-stage demeanor. Critics state that Carlin was a grumpy old man; a reformed addict that pushed his atheist agenda to the point where it was no longer funny. However, every time we saw Carlin interviewed or accepting yet another award for his achievements, we all were able to see Carlin for who he truly was; a humble, sweet, brilliant and intelligent performer that always knew exactly what he was doing at all times. Anyone who negatively judged Carlin based on his stand-up persona was missing out on a huge portion of who he was as a man. I humorously remember the first time I saw Carlin on The Tonight Show; I had fully expected some tongue-lashing tirade about the English language or the current President, but instead, I was met with an interesting, logical, calm and quiet discussion. He always surprised me.

George Carlin has made me more intelligent. Harder. More angry at the world. More accepting of human beings but continually frustrated by the groups that they attach themselves to. George Carlin has allowed me to accept that there are certain things completely out of my control that I cannot allow myself to worry about. George Carlin reminded me to sit back and enjoy the show. To continually evolve and never accept what people tell me is right. To trust my gut. To make it a personal goal to make at least one person laugh every single day of my life. For all of this and more, I cannot thank him enough.

When Kurt Vonnegut passed away last year, the big joke among his fans was to state "He's up in heaven now." This was in reference to the following passage in God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian:

"I am honorary president of the American Humanist Association, having succeeded the late, great, spectacularly prolific writer and scientist, Dr. Isaac Asimov in that essentially functionless capacity. At an A.H.A. memorial service for my predecessor I said, "Isaac is up in Heaven now." That was the funniest thing I could have said to an audience of humanists. It rolled them in the aisles. Mirth! Several minutes had to pass before something resembling solemnity could be restored."

In many ways, I considered Mr. Vonnegut and Mr. Carlin to share similar worldviews, and I cannot help but think of this quote now that we've lost them both in a little over a year. And it makes me laugh. Hard. And much like Vonnegut, part of me thought that this day might not ever happen, that these heroes would live forever and continue to shine through the garbage until the end of time.

I won't say that Carlin is in Heaven now, but if there is one, he's there.

Thank you so much for everything.

Comments:
Lovely tribute, darling :)
 
Have I just time-traveled?

Today's Monday, isn't it?

Explanation?
 
Monday's post was written and published before I heard about Carlin's death, so it got bumped down a little early. I thought this was more important, although the Mix-Tape deadline and Emily Mills with a moustache isn't without their respective charm.

Monday's post can be found below.
 
What, isn't it Tuesday yet by you, Carrot?
 
I was this close to pulling the old, "It is Tuesday here!" on Carrot Duff.
 
Honestly, I feel the same gut wrenching pain about Carlin's passing as I did about Vonnegut's.
Those two really are the kind of icons that you do not want to think about as not being there any longer.
 
I think we just need to feel fortunate that we got to live in the same age as these people.
 
As a Calvinist Christian, you would think that I wouldn't be mourning the loss of an atheist like George Carlin, yet I am.

The reason he was such a genius isn't just because he was funny -- he was -- but also he made us think about ourselves and the absurdity of our lives. The Seven Words You Can't Say On Television is a wonderful example. Why can't we say that on television? What would happen if we did? Those questions were asked by everyone, and then even the Supreme Court took a stab at an answer.

TheCDP did a great off-the-cuff write-up of his thoughts. But I'm saddened by this news. There will never be another.
 
Thanks a lot for sharing, Hoss. There are just some things out there that everyone can agree on, no matter where you stand, and I appreciate the reflection.

I came into the office this morning and just hammered the eulogy out, partly because I had a lot of thoughts in my mind, and they just needed to come out. But mostly because without Carlin, there would be no CDP.

You're right; there's never going to be another like George.
 
As I was leaving school, I was thinking about how our world is no longer the same, which is a thought I have whenever a notable person dies. When I started my truck, "It's the End of the World as We Know It" was playing on the radio. Very fitting...though I do not necessarily feel so fine at this moment. But that feeling will pass. As CDP said, we are fortunate to have lived in the same time as the remarkable people we admire. It brings to mind a Sherman Alexie story in which he remarks it is hard to fathom that he was alive and wetting his bed when Jimi Hendrix was alive and creating music. (Obviously, he stated this idea much more eloquently than I.)
 
I say that we make a list of famous people that we've all been fortunate enough to share the Earth with in unison (living or dead). I'll get things going:

1. Carlin
2. Vonnegut
3. George Harrison
4. Johnny Carson
5. Michael Jordan
6. Tiger Woods
7. Rocco Mediate
8. Chad Kroger
9. Ryan J. Zeinert
10. Carrot Duff

I sort of ran out of steam towards the end, there.
 
Freddie Mercury
 
I'll tell you who isn't on that list...



Coach K and Wojo.
 
Speaking of Mr. Fahrenheit, you did watch the above YouTube clips, right?

Tim Russert
Albert Brooks
Stephen Spielberg
The Rest of the Beatles
Barack Obama
 
12. Ferris Bueller
 
Rick Pitino.
 
I'm certainly the most famous Brit to visit this blog. I have a regional, under 14 Judo championship under my belt. I'm asked for autographs regularly.*

It's always rough when someone you admire, but never met dies. Just recently I had my last Grandparent taken away from me, and it does leave you feeling dreadfully alone inside. Thankfully, none of my idols (aside from those who have already passed on), have died since I've been on Earth. The day Johnny Greenwood dies, I'll certainly crash-and-burn for a few days.
 
I can't effectively watch YouTube from school, so I will peruse the videos after I get home from the dentist tonight.
 
Whether you were a fan or not - what George Carlin had to say was often brutally anti-PC and anti-establishement, and sometimes crossed a line or touched a raw nerve in people's collective conciousness - he was a proponant of independent thought, which I think is sorely missing in this country right now...and for that I feel at a loss.
 
More:

Bill Murray
George Lucas
Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Graham Chapman
 
DUFF - Judo? Awesome!

The thing about death, and the reason this post exists, is to focus on the positive legacy the deceased has left for you. It's all you can do, really.

HILBELINK - You're gonna freak out.
 
WAAAAALLLT!!!1!
 
MAUS - Thanks for your words; you nailed it.

Phil Hartman
Billie Jo Armstrong
David Lynch
 
If there is a heaven I doubt he'd care to be there with the rest of humanity.
 
Indeed. If he had any say in the matter, I assume he'd take a rain check.
 
Christopher Nolan
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
Tina Fey
The Simpsons
Martin Scorcese
 
Anyone but Ted Danson
 
...and John Tesh
 
Princess Di

And I have actually gained much intelligence for my life by listening to John Tesh. Such as...avoid John Testh.
 
'Testh' is how Dusty Rhodes pronounces 'Tesh.'

Wrestling joke! Boo-yah!
 
I had a worm in one of the pea pods I was eating at lunch today. It's a good thing I thoroughly inspect everything before I eat it. *shudder* Green Giant "flash freezes it's vegetables at the peak of freshness", so that worm at least had a quick and painless death--never knew what hit him.
 
I almost ate a worm the other day. I went fishing with my husband as an anniversary outing. I baited the hook, but before I could cast, the wormy hook flew back and hit me in the mouth. It is almost like a made out with the worm and every other worm it has asexually reproduced with.

I am glad you did not end up eating the worm.
 
Blecch to the both of you; worms are disgusting. Although, I suppose that's the price you pay for fresh things, fish or vegetables.

'The Peak of Freshness...' they don't really know when that is.
 
I lied---that's actually the tagline that Lean Cuisine uses on their packaging.

This was one of those segmented worms that you find in corn. The dark brown ones with legs, like the mealworms that Laika eats. Hideous.
 
This is why I never eat vegetables. You know where you'll never find a worm? Candy.
 
Unless, of course, it's gummy worms.



And popcorn.
 
Gummy Worms. Clever jest, good sir.

But I'll be dead in the ground before I recognize popcorn as candy.
 
I got stuck on "cinema candy". My apologies. Even the buckets of soda they sell you are candy at that point...
 
What about caramel corn? That seems rather candyish.
 
Caramel corn and Candy Corn are exempt.
 
*ahem* Kettle Corn?
 
*(From previous comment) This statement may not be entirely true.


What about KoRn?

Ahhhh, wait a minute. They suck.
 
I just got an email from Tesh.com. Go figure...I need to get off that mailing list.
 
He was just here a minute ago.
 
G'damn I'm going to miss the cantankerous old bastard.

To add to the list:
Audrey Hepburn
Rosa Parks
Pretty much anyone who served in WWII

P.S. I got my mixtapes in the mail tonight!
 
My grandpa is a hero, and I am glad I have been able to know him for 28 years. I hope that number continues to grow. He is one of the most amazing men that ever walked the earth.

Even though he once called CDP Oscar. And then CDP ran into a cutting board. (My grandpa also has a great memory and sweet storytelling skills.)
 
He kind of looks like an Oscar.
 
Speaking of Oscar, Ryan is going to be at a fancy pharmacy exam at work all day today, so he won't be around to comment. Yep...he really does do work sometimes! :)
 
Hathery, thanks for posting on my blog. It made me feel super special!

And...does Ryan get to experiment with the drugs and that is the exam? I am probably in the wrong profression.
 
Dan Akroid
Humpry Bogart
Tim Russert
Sydney Pollack
Guilero del Toro

...Phil Hartman was a hero of mine!

---
George taught me a lot of awesome words...when I was 8.
 
Mother Theresa
 
CAVEMAN - Truthfully, the death of Phil Hartman was in many ways more devastating to me than the death of Carlin. In that regard, we lost a genius way too soon, from a terrible act, no less. I miss Phil Hartman every time I see any of his clips; he was brilliant.

I have received mix-tapes from RISSA, JOHN JENKEL, HILBELINK and EMILY MILLS. Thank you very much!
 

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