The first headline that caught my eye this morning was George Carlin, 71, Irreverent Standup Comedian at the New York Times. I thought it was a PR piece promoting a new tour or some other project, or maybe an induction into some hall of fame somewhere. Nope. Dead.
(The NYT headline has since been corrected.)
Carlin once said that inside every cynical person there’s a disappointed idealist. He sometimes sounded like a fatalist, especially in his later work, but I never thought he really believed there was no hope for the human race, even if none of us get out of here alive.
He started out in comedy as a rather mild, mainstream guy, and then risked all of that early success with the decision that his real voice was the one that needed to be heard. He changed comedy in the process, and then he stayed around long enough for a few generations to appreciate the subtle genius of his work.
Sorry you’re gone, GC, but so glad you were here.