Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin dead at 71

Wow. I just sat down to do a completely different post, and I see this obit. George Carlin was in the news just four or five days ago, when the Kennedy Center announced that he was this year's recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Now he'll never receive it in person. It's a weird and sad thing to contemplate.

I had an eerily prescient dream last night, as I often do, that someone famous had died. I don't remember who it was, but I remember that his passing gave me unimaginable ecstasy. That sounds horrible, I know, but I've been sleep-deprived lately. And that certainly isn't to suggest that the loss of George Carlin conjures up any feeling remotely resembling ecstasy. But again, a weird and sad thing to contemplate.

On Dec. 9, 2007, my friend and I saw Carlin live at the Juanita K. Hammons Center in Springfield, Missouri. Even then, I knew this would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Seeing him live, I was struck by how short and hunched-over he was. He really did look like a 70-year-old man, which he (of course) made light of. Other than that, though, his energy remained as high as it ever was. His comedy was as acerbic as ever, but with slightly less grumpiness than he'd exhibited in the recent past. And, needless to say, drop-dead hilarious.

I've been a fan since long before I probably should have been, and will continue to be. Odd as it may seem to say, the world needs more people like George Carlin.

But just like that, he's gone. He is already missed.

It's enough to make you want to scream the Seven Dirty Words.


GumboFilé said...

I once heard that Carlin got his start in radio in Shreveport.

Ian McGibboney said...

Indeed he did. From KTBS in Shreveport:

"The start of Carlin's career traces back to Shreveport, where he was a deejay for radio station KJOE. At the time, he was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, where he was a radar technician."

Or, as Carlin's site puts it:

"July, 1956 - Starts off-base disc jockey job at radio station KJOE, Shreveport, La. Now officially in show business. Nineteen years old. The pussy scene improves."

R.I.P., old friend.