George Carlin – He Wasn’t Just a Stand-up Comic!
With Six You Get Egg Roll BURBANK - AUGUST 7: WITH SIX YOU GET EGGROLL, theatrical movie originally released August 7, 1968. The film directed by Howard Morris. Pictured, George Carlin (as Herbie Fleck). Frame grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
I’m sure most, if not all, of you that visit this website have heard the name, George Carlin. He was quite a character and a very outspoken stand-up comedian. That being said, there was more to Carlin than met the eye.
In addition to George Carlin being an accomplished stand-up comedian, he was an actor, an author and an outspoken social critic.
Carlin came from humble beginnings. He grew up in a section of New York City that he fondly referred to as, “White Harlem.” His parents divorced when he was very young because of his father’s alcoholism. He was raised by a single mother who he didn’t have the best relationship with. He looked out for himself and considered himself to be "street smart."
Running the streets of New York City gave Carlin an insight that a person has to experience in order to understand. He was very tuned in to many of the social ills that he experienced in his youth and wanted to give them each a voice.
George Carlin was always the epitome of ALL that was politically incorrect!
After being kicked out of Catholic school, Carlin found his niche in drama during the time he spent at summer camp. He had won drama awards and was starting to get positive attention. This positive attention was just what he needed to realize his epic potential. Carlin was comfortable, not only on stage but in any public forum. He was politically incorrect and made NO apologies!
One of George Carlin’s first official jobs was as a radio station disc jockey.
Carlin did a stint in the U.S. Air Force as a young man and trained as a radar technician, which didn’t last long. During his short military career, Carlin had been disciplined many times including being court-martialed. Why did he join the American armed forces? Who knows, because he certainly wasn’t a fan.
During George Carlin’s brief military career, he had a gig as a disc jockey at a radio station near his post in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Prior to his stand up comedy days, and during his disc jockey days, George Carlin crossed paths with another disc jockey named, Jack Burns. The two formed a comedy team and began performing at small beatnik venues. It wasn’t long after that that they took their show on the road and headed to California in 1960.
Shortly after arriving in sunny, California, the pair landed some gigs and recorded their one and only album entitled, Burns and Carlin at the Playboy Club Tonight.
Although Carlin and Burns would part ways (professionally) not long after they hit California, they remained close, personal friends. George Carlin went on to forge his own way in entertainment history and this turned out to be no mistake. The 1960s proved to have been a very successful decade for the pop culture icon.
Carlin began accepting invitations to appear on popular variety shows including, The Tonight Show; even serving as guest host at times.
After this initial exposure, George Carlin ended up being in high demand on many popular late-night television programs in the '60s performing some of his most infamous skits including the ones below:
• The Indian Sergeant – "There will be a rain dance tonight ... weather permitting ..."
• Stupid disc jockeys ("Wonderful WINO radio...") – "The Beatles' latest record, when played backwards at slow speed, says, 'Dummy! You're playing it backwards at slow speed!'"
• Al Sleet, the Hippie-Dippie Weatherman – "Tonight's forecast: Dark. Continued mostly dark tonight, changing to widely scattered light towards morning."
Politically incorrect and taboo material were some of George Carlin’s favorites!
Politics, black comedy, basic, human psychology and religion were some of Carlin’s favorite subject matter. He never worried about being offensive. I mean, let’s face it… you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Instead, Carlin was on a search and report mission; meaning, he told it like it was!
One of George Carlin’s best-known comedy routines was, “Seven Dirty Words.”
The “Seven Dirty Words” bit was one of Carlin’s most notable routines. The skit listed the 7 most offensive words, at the time, that couldn’t and/or shouldn't be broadcast on public television. This infamous skit actually played a part in a U.S. Supreme Court case in 1978 which supported “Big Brother’s” power to regulate the material able to be broadcast on public airwaves. Carlin’s words were offensive to some but just plain reality to others. The FCC hated him!
HBO was one of the first cable television channels to air George Carlin’s all too honest brand of comedy.
George Carlin passed away in 2008 and is no longer with us. Whether you loved him, hated him or just couldn't be bothered, he had an extremely notable career while on this earth. Many people tend to go with the “status quo” and do what they need to do to get by. George Carlin provocatively challenged individuals as well as our American society, as a whole. You may not have agreed with him or enjoyed his brand of comedy, but he was true to himself and certainly made his mark.
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