Sorry about the lack of posts on here the last several days
but it’s been that kind of a week. At any rate, a little late on this — though he’ll never exactly be “old” news — but I was extremely unhappy to hear about the death of George Carlin last Sunday, June 22nd. I woke up around 3 a.m. Sunday morning, turned on the TV and that was the first thing I saw on CNN. My immediate reaction was “Shit!” (which, of course, every Carlin fan knows is just “Shoot” without glasses).
Carlin was a regular in Detroit over the years. He played the Roostertail during his early “straight” comedic years — but the first time I saw him was right before he broke huge at the Fisher Theatre in 1972. Aside from David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” show, which also played the Fisher around that same time, I don’t think I’d ever before seen that kind of counterculture element in that Nederlander establishment. My dad took me and my little brother to the show, after we’d begged him for weeks. I remember when we were at the box office, waiting for tickets, Carlin himself actually walked up to check out the crowd. “Hey, George!” I said (he was one of my idols at the time). He nodded, smiled, made a face, and said, “How ya doin’?” After the show, when people were leaving the parking lot, he came out the stage door and walked down the street, all by himself, towards his hotel. Car horns were honking and George was waving and signing things for people stopping him on the street.
His act seems rather tame these days; hell, you can hear similar language on network primetime shows at 10 p.m
.and those seven words are a regular staple on HBO. As a result, it’s hard to explain how incredibly subversive George Carlin was back then. Incredibly so. Dad laughed throughout that Fisher show, but afterwards, he told me and my brother that it was a good thing we didn’t bring Mom as “the filthy language” would’ve greatly upset her. And yet, just a few weeks ago, she sent me an e-mail that had content from Carlin regarding politics (there was even a profanity or two) with a note that read: "I guess the old guy's changed." No, he never changed. It was the world that changed
and George Carlin helped change it. Not a lot of artists (especially comedians this side of Lenny Bruce) can make similar claims.
He really was the first comedy rock 'n' roll star, filling up arenas all over the country. I saw him numerous times at a sold-out Pine Knob. I particularly remember one show, during which some guy ran down front and threw three joints onstage for him. "Oh, thank you!" he deadpanned. "We'll use those for exhibit A after they arrest me!” But he lit one up and passed it to the front row anyway. That was the same show where — because there was a piano onstage — he sat down and played and sang the doo wop song, "Cherry Pie," doing all the vocal parts himself. Also the show where he, seemingly off the cuff, started to sing: "It's raisins that make Post Raisin Bran so wonderful...MORE RAISINS! MUCH MORE RAISINS." This had my friends on the ground, they were laughing so hard, as we used to sing the same thing during really, really stoned moments in high school. People were so fucked-up at that show that I also remember several cars slamming into each other in the parking lot afterwards, like something out of the demolition derby, and the people inside the vehicles just laughing hysterically.
It’s really sad he won’t be around to comment on this important presidential election. Kinda hard to believe that George was only a year younger than John Fucking McCain, btw. How’s that for a reality check? It seems a lot of the media has been missing the point when it comes to the man’s legacy and importance
but comedian/writer Lee Camp wrote about that very subject at Daily Kaos the other day. You can read it here.
Carlin was one of those folks you just took for granted and figured he’d always be around
which he probably will be, at least via video and CDs for years to come. NBC is rebroadcasting the first-ever Saturday Night Live this weekend, which Carlin, of course, hosted. Nothing much else to say except “Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits.” I think Mr. Carlin would’ve approved. (Hey, I can still rattle ‘em off all these years later without even looking it up
"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity..." -- George Carlin