- Entertainment and Media
George Carlin: Outrageous comedian
"Life's journey is not to
arrive at the grave safely
in a well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways,
totally worn out, shouting
'...holy sh*t ....what a ride!'
George Carlin died of heart failure in 2008, at the age of 71. He was born of Irish decent in 1937 in New York City. Married twice, he had one child during his lifetime.
He received the American Comedy award, a lifetime achievement award,
the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain prize and was nominated for several
Having worked as a radio disc jockey, a radio announcer, and a D.J,. he eventually teamed up with Jack Burns, also a newscaster and comedian. Working together, they performed on radio and in clubs. Eventually, Carlin decided to venture out solo. His first TV guest appearance was on The Tonight Show in 1962, after the departure of Jack Paar.
In 1965, he began a series of 29 appearances on the Merv Griffin Show. He started out as a conventional comedian but, by the '60s, began to change his style, incorporating jokes about religion and making humorous and disparaging remarks about American conventions. He found humor in everything and particularly liked using shocking and profane language and was frequently censored. .
He once said he thought profanity enhanced his characters. It was during this time, that he began developing his well-known and clever imitations of the establishment. He openly said he was influenced by Danny Kaye, Abbott and Costello, Ernie Kovacs, Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce.
audiences loved his irreverent, controversial and very funny social commentary on
American life and politics. With an accute intelligence and amazing sense of observation and humor, he parodied everyday figures; such as flight attendants, weathermen, and politicians.
He satirized the media, religion, radio and TV commercials, advertisements, and conventional ways of life. And, invented
outrageous characters like Al Sleet, “the “hippy-dippy weatherman”and made fun of them.
When Carlin was awarded the kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize in 2008, the announcement, which celebrated his life and humor, was made a week before his passing. He was delighted with the honor, and was looking forward to attending the ceremony. The award was presented posthumously for the first time in its eleven years. He was considered the greatest stand up comic of all times, after Lenny Bruce.