George Denis Patrick Carlin was a goddamned hypocrite, and I loved him for it.
In the latter part of his long and storied life and career, the late standup comedy legend came off as a crusty, irate, disappointed, extremely cynical bastard who freely admitted he’d given up on the hopeless human race and reveled in its plentiful fuckups and contradictions.
“It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club. This country is finished.” – GC
Offstage though, Carlin was a kind-hearted, selfless, encouraging friend to myriad pluggers on the comedy circuit. His daughter and colleagues say he was nothing like the persona he developed in the face of advancing age and frustration with the agonizing lack of progress in the nation he loved as much as he lampooned.
“Some people see a glass that’s half full. Some see a glass that’s half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.” – GC
Though he insisted that he didn’t give a shit about America anymore, he sure kept up with it. In his last HBO show, It’s Bad for Ya, he opened with an astounding rapid-fire monologue loaded with all the latest buzzwords to show how tuned in and mentally shipshape he still was, despite having endured heart surgery and hitting the big 7-0.
Plus, he read more blogs than you do.
“The day after tomorrow is the third day of the rest of your life.” – GC
I saw Carlin perform three times, the last here in Denver a few years ago in which he scoffed at the obsessively precautionary society America had become. He bragged about having swum in New York City’s filthy rivers as a kid.
“I was tempered in shit!” – GC
But he could never shake that bad ticker…
“As it stands right now, I lead Richard Pryor in heart attacks, two to one. However, Richard still leads me, one to nothing, in burning yourself up.” – GC, 1982
George was honored in November with the Mark Twain Prize, apparently the only award he saw as “legitimate.” I wish he’d a made it to the ceremony, but he was undoubtedly there in spirit. Ah, who’m I kidding…
“What’s this favoritism toward the dead? FUCK the dead!” – GC