Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin (1937-2008)

Comedian George Carlin, a counter-culture hero famed for his routines about drugs and dirty words, died of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital on Sunday, a spokesman said. He was 71.

Carlin, who had a history of heart and drug-dependency problems, died at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica about 6 p.m. PDT (9 p.m. EDT) after being admitted earlier in the afternoon for chest pains, spokesman Jeff Abraham told Reuters.

Known for his edgy, provocative material, Carlin achieved status as an anti-Establishment icon in the 1970s with stand-up bits full of drug references and a routine called "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television." A regulatory battle over a radio broadcast of the routine ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read more:

George Carlin official website

CNN, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, How Carlin changed comedy

Getting arrested in 1972 after doing the "Seven Dirty Words" at Milwaukee Summerfest here here and here.

Carlin, WBAI and the birth of the FCC's indecency policy.

FCC v. Pacifica Foundation and the FCC transcript of the broadcast.

Censorship in the media

The Seven Dirty Words - the original routine and performance video from 1978.

Memorable quotes

Video highlights - from The Huffington Post

Audio tribute from PRX (Public Radio Exchange) (semi-free subscription required)

Huffington Post interview from this past March

Larry King, Harry Shearer remember Carlin

Finally, this from David Hochman:

Since we were on the subject, I thought I'd ask what he'd like his tombstone to say. Carlin didn't miss a beat.

"I'm thinking something along the lines of, "Jeez, he was just here a minute ago."


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