June 23: NBC’s George Lewis looks at the life of George Carlin, 71, who was known for his dirty words, controversial routines, and his huge contribution to American comedy. SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television. Some People Are Stupid. Stuff. People I Can Do Without. George Carlin, who died of heart failure Sunday at 71, leaves behind not only a series of memorable routines, but a legal legacy: His most celebrated monologue, a frantic, informed riff on those infamous seven words, led to a Supreme Court decision on broadcasting offensive language. The counterculture hero’s jokes also targeted things such as misplaced shame, religious hypocrisy and linguistic quirks. “Why,” he asked, “do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?”
“Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, went into St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon complaining of chest pain and died later that evening,” said his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He had performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas. “He was a genius and I will miss him dearly,” Jack Burns, who was the other half of a comedy duo with Carlin in the early 1960s, told The Associated Press. The actor Ben Stiller called Carlin “a hugely influential force in stand-up comedy. He had an amazing mind, and his humor was brave, and always challenging us to look at ourselves and question our belief systems, while being incredibly entertaining. He was one of the greats.” Carlin constantly breached the accepted boundaries of comedy and language, particularly with his routine on the “Seven Words all of which are taboo on broadcast TV to this day.
June 23: Legendary comedian George Carlin, perhaps most famous for his skit, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV,” dies at 71. He succumbed to heart failure. NBC’s John Larson reports. When he uttered all seven at a show in Milwaukee in 1972, he was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace, freed on $150 bail and exonerated when a Wisconsin judge dismissed the case, saying it was indecent but citing free speech and the lack of any disturbance. When the words were later played on a New York radio station, they resulted in a 1978 Supreme Court ruling upholding the government’s authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language during hours when children might be listening. “So my name is a footnote in American legal history, which I’m perversely kind of proud of,” he told The Associated Press earlier this year. First host of “Saturday Night Live.” Despite his reputation as unapologetically irreverent, Carlin was a television staple through the decades, serving as host of the “Saturday Night Live” debut in 1975, noting on his Web site that he was “loaded on cocaine all week long” and appearing some 130 times on “The Tonight Show.”
The comedian, known for his biting insights on life and language, died of heart failure on Sunday. He produced 23 comedy albums, 14 HBO specials, three books, a couple of TV shows and appeared in several movies, from his own comedy specials to “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” in 1989, a testament to his range from cerebral satire and cultural commentary to downright silliness (and sometimes hitting all points in one stroke). “Why do they lock gas station bathrooms?” he once mused. “Are they afraid someone will clean them?” In one of his most famous routines, Carlin railed against euphemisms he said have become so widespread that no one can simply “die older which sounds a little better than old, doesn’t it?” he said. “Sounds like it might even last a little longer. … I’m getting old. And it’s OK. Because thanks to our fear of death in this country I won’t have to die. I’lll pass away. Or I’lll expire, like a magazine subscription. If it happens in the hospital, they’ll call it a “terminal episode.” The insurance company will refer to it as “negative patient care outcome.” And if it’s the result of malpractice they’lll say it was a “therapeutic misadventure.”
He won four Grammy Awards, each for best spoken comedy album, and was nominated for five Emmy awards. On Tuesday, it was announced that Carlin was being awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which will be presented Nov. 10 in Washington and broadcast on PBS. “Nobody was funnier than George Carlin,” said Judd Apatow, director of recent hit comedies such as “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” “I spent half my childhood in my room listening to his records experiencing pure joy. And he was as kind as he was funny.”
Carlin started his career on the traditional nightclub circuit in a coat and tie, pairing with Burns to spoof TV game shows, news and movies. “Perhaps in spite of the outlaw soul, George was fairly conservative when I met him,” said Burns, describing himself as the more left-leaning of the two. It was a degree of separation that would reverse when they came upon Lenny Bruce, the original shock comic, in the early 60s.
——Hair Poem by George Carlyn——————- I’m aware some stare at my hair. In fact, to be fair, some really despair of my hair. But I don’t care, Cause they’re not aware, nor are they devonaire. In fact, they’re just square. They see hair down to there, Say, “Beware” and go off on a tear! I say, “No fair!” A head that’s bare is really nowhere. So be like a bear, be fair with your hair! Show it you care. Wear it to there. Or to there. Or to there, if you dare! My wife bought some hair at a fair, to use as a spare. Did I care? Au contraire! Spare hair is fair! In fact, hair can be rare. Fred Astair got no hair, Nor does a chair, Nor nor a chocolate eclair, And where is the hair on a pear? Nowhere, mon frere! So now that I’ve shared this affair of the hair, I’m going to repair to my lair and use Nair, do you care? (Beard Poem) Here’s my beard. Ain’t it wierd? Don’t be sceered, Just a beard. Mohammad Shamim “Reduce what you use, Reuse what you have, Recycle what you don’t want”