Monday, June 23, 2008

Comedian George Carlin Dead at Age 71

George Carlin, the frenzied performer whose routine "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" led to a key Supreme Court ruling on obscenity, has died.

Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, went into St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon complaining of chest pain and died later that evening, said his publicist, Jeff
Abraham. He had performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas. He was 71.


Anonymous Brock Whaley said...

A Remembrance
George Carlin was a huge influence on my sense of humor in no small part because he was the first person to satirize Top 40 radio. Other’s like Steve Allen had satirized television, but George came right at the radio format, and thus the radio, I loved as a kid in the 60’s.

I first became aware of George Carlin in 1966 when he was part of the summer replacement show for the Kraft Music Hall on NBC. And this was with Mr. White bread John Davidson as host. I never missed a show, not even on vacation.

In 1967 my Father returned from a trip to New York with George’s first album on RCA. It was a promo copy which made it even cooler. I have no idea how he found a promo copy, but I wore out the grooves.

That summer, George was on another summer replacement show. This one on CBS was a summer fill in for Jackie Gleason, and starred Jose Greco (now there’s a trivia name).
I watched every show, just for George.

I laughed and loved George’s take on daytime television with its clueless contestants, but it was his satire on Top 40 that nailed it for me. Not just the songs, but the jocks and the jingles. It proved to me that nothing, even something you love, is sacred.

I was reminded this morning, that although George had long stopped doing radio interviews, he did mention a decade ago, that our KPOI slogan at the time, “The Rock You Live On” was the most cleaver, and accurate radio slogan he had ever heard. This from a man whose own clever take on the radio business started it all for me.

Much will be written. Everyone has a favorite point in his groundbreaking array of work and thought. Mine will always be the fictional radio station that formed so much of my life as a satirist and broadcaster.

Thank you, George.
And thank you for “Wonderful WINO radio. Just above the police calls.”

5:05 PM  

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