“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”
George Carlin was one of a kind. And that’s the saddest part of his sudden death on Sunday of heart failure.
When I was little, I remember seeing Carlin on HBO specials. I was too young to remember the Al Sleet (hippie dippie weatherman) routines from the Carson and Sullivan shows. And by the time he had made his way to HBO, his shows were of an unapologetically adult fashion. So I’d only get to catch a clip of him before Mom would make Dad change the channel.
But once I heard a full routine, I laughed all the way through it. My favorite routine — and picking a single favorite took a lot of time — was the bit about a safety lecture on the plane; it was an attack on the ridiculous and the misuse of language all rolled up into one. And it contained a line I borrowed here not all that long ago:
“The next sentence is just full of things that piss me off.”
Here’s a clip from that one:
I’ve stolen the part about near misses several times, and I’m always amazed at how many people have to stop and think about it. (Refer to the opening quote!)
In the coverage reporting his death, I’ve seen many words used to describe him: acerbic, witty, irreverent, frenzied, social commentator, philosopher, and icon.
But it was Jack Burns, his former comedy partner from the early days who said it best: “He was a genius and I’ll miss him dearly.”
So will a lot of us.