George Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an satirist and stand-up comedian in the tradition of Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor. He appeared on TV and had several small parts in movies. He was an agnostic/atheist (see: Celebrity atheists).
Many of his jokes poke fun at peculiarities of English language:
- Why is it that night falls but day breaks?
- Why is the third hand on the watch called a second hand?
He skewered all sorts of absurdities in American life:
- And why do they lock the public bathrooms at gas stations? Are they afraid that someone will clean them?
Carlin was very vulgar in his comedy, mocking what he disagreed with in an audacious way that people often took offense to.
George Carlin has been a long-standing testament to the countercultural revolution of the '60s and '70s and was no stranger to controversy.
In 1973, he was arrested after a show in Oregon on obscenity charges after his routine "The 7 Dirty Words (You Can't Say On TV Or Radio)" was played uncensored on the radio. The case created a stir on definitions of indecency and the restrictions by the FCC.
He blamed the October 2007 wildfires in Los Angeles County on the people, saying that they "invaded the habitat, and are getting theirs."
- "Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man, living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of 10 things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these 10 things, he has a special place full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish where he will send *you* to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever til the end of time...but he loves you."
- "Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers."
Carlin passed away on June 22, 2008, as a result of heart failure. He was 71.
His memoir Last Words (written with Tony Hendra) was published in November 2009.