Monday, June 23, 2008


While I wouldn't count George Carlin as one of my idols, I am greatly saddened by his passing. He was definitely a thinking man's comedian - and even the word "comedian" seems inadequate to describe his unique brand of observation and dignified umbrage against the numerous idiocies of life.

Not unlike my inexplicable penchant for mutton-chopped, white jump suit Elvis, it is the latter-day Carlin that really resonated with me. His HBO specials and TV appearances of the last few years found him in excellent form, adding a macabre tinge to his acerbic delivery.

Never one to suffer fools gladly, Carlin once offered a riff on people the world would be better off without, noting they "oughta be beaten with heavy clubs and left bleeding in the moonlight."

That image—left bleeding in the mooonlight—is sheer poetry! And, God help me, hilarious!

Many of the obituaries mention cynicism and bitterness, but he never really struck me that way. George Carlin, to my mind, was always about calling a spade a spade. Sometimes he took an exaggerated route, perhaps, to make his point—but he was nothing if not on point.

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Blogger MsAPhillips said...

Q: Can you remember the first joke you ever told?

A: No. But I do remember the first time I ever made my mother laugh.


Abraham Maslow said the fully realized man does not identify with the local group. When I saw that, it rang another bell. I thought: bingo! I do not identify with the local group, I do not feel a part of it.


I was doing nightclub comedy down in the Village. I was down there in ’63, ’64, and my friend told me about Arthur Koestler’s book about the act of creation and it had a section on humor.

He was talking about the creative process. There was an illustration on the panel that showed a triptych. On the left panel, there were these names of artistic pursuits. There were poets, painter, composer. And one of them was jester. I was only interested in the jester. What he said about each of these, he said these individuals on the left hand side can transcend the panels of the triptych by creative growth.

The jester makes jokes, he’s funny, he makes fun, he ridicules. But if his ridicules are based on sound ideas and thinking, then he can proceed to the second panel, which is the thinker—he called it the philosopher. The jester becomes the philosopher, and if he does these things with dazzling language that we marvel at, then he becomes a poet too. Then the jester can be a thinking jester who thinks poetically.

11:00 AM  

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