George Carlin has been a part of my life ever since I was a little kid watching Thomas the Tank Engine, where he played Mr. Conductor. When I grew up and saw what kind of stand-up he did I was shocked they let him anywhere near mainstream television, nevermind a kid's show. Carlin's comedy emphasizes every I appreciate: thinking for yourself, questioning authority, and not letting anyone tell you what to do. Lots of people wonder who was better: George Carlin or Richard Pryor. I find both are equally deserving of the praise they get, especially considering their careers were so similar. Both were iconoclasts who became idols to the generation of comedians that followed them, both talking about the ills of society (in my opinion Carlin has just as many insights to black and white people as Pyror did, but much less frequently of course), both had horrible drug problems in the 70's, and both had an equal amount of unsuccessful movies and TV shows from then on that could only scrape at the surface of their talents.
By the way, a quick explanation of today's tribute. As many of his fans know, George Carlin was an avowed atheist and very anti-religion, considering it another form of control in line with the government. The quote is not his, but one of mine, and reflects a discussion I had with a friend on atheism recently. Since his death a lot of people have been saying "God Bless Him" or "Rest in Peace". I know they mean no offense, but as I'm sure Carlin himself would be I'm not concerned about his delightfully indicitive soul finding rest at last. Like Pyror before him, I'm more sad that he's now gone from my life and that I'll never hear his thoughts on the world around us, particularly at a time when I feel we need him the most.
My only solace was that George Carlin was an incredibly prolific comic while he was still alive and he left behind more than enough HBO specials for us to pour over for years to come. So I say let's take the time to learn the lessons of George Carlin well. There's more than enough material around so there's no excuse for any thinking human being not to.
Besides, if you're a true Carlin fan "Joe bless you" would be more appropriate.
Joe bless you all.