Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin R. I. P.

When I was trying to come up with an appropriate analogy for the importance of George Carlin to stand-up comedy, I initially had trouble until I thought of one man... Miles Davis.

George Carlin was to stand-up comedy what Miles Davis was to music. Both men always pushed the boundaries of their chosen art forms. Both men were alive and working during the heydays of their chosen art forms. And both men were STILL relevant up until (and after) death.

And both seemed to know that the end was near based on their last blasts of creativity.

Miles began playing songs fro early in his career right before he died.

And these are clips from Carlin's most recent HBO special that aired in March of this year.

Carlin also has the increasingly RAAAAAAAAAAARE distinction of spending his whole career being known as a stand-up comic. Not a stand-up/talk show host. Not a stand-up/attempted movie star. Not a stand-up/sitcom star. He went onstage. He said what he felt with jokes added in. And he left town. Beautiful. We will never see his like again for many reasons. He is the last comic who could get arrested for what he said. back when you had to have a certain amount of bravery to go up on stage and say what you felt.

He died at 71 and we definitely lost him too soon.

P.S. Carlin's last special was recorded in Santa Rosa at The Luther Burbank Center. I performed there once. Tommy Smothers of The Smothers Brothers was in the audience. He is another comic who was on the forefront of the freedom of speech movement in comedy in the 60's. I was really excited to see what he thought of me, a dude doing socially relevant and slightly (at the time) political material. After the show he said nothing to me and enthusiastically complimented a guy who was doing circus tricks. Tommy SMothers is still alive. George is dead. Further proof that only the good die young.


sfben22 said...

Well, as much as I love the Smothers Brothers, you have to remember their most recent public appearances have been as "Dick Smothers & Yo-Yo Man". Yo-Yo Man played by Tommy, of course.

Dean said...

Ahhh. WKB, you Santa Rosa hata...

Your Label Reading Fan,