Monthly Archives: June 2008

ab·er·rant sketchbook

George Carlin: Gone But Not Forgotten

George Carlin Sketch 01
George Carlin Sketch 02
George Carlin Sketch 03
pencils – derwent graphic 6b

It has been one week since George Carlin’s passing at age 71.

My memory of George Carlin extends back to the early 80′s when I saw him on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He did this one joke on driving:

Q: “At a traffic light, if red means stop and green means go, what does yellow mean?”
A: “Come on, you can make it!”

That was tame compared to his usual fare. But it showed me at an early age that observing human behavior and joking about it can be funny as hell.

The news of his death has been interesting to say the least.

Two of the better write ups I came across were in Time Magazine: “How George Carlin Changed Comedy” and The New York Times: “George Carlin, Comic Who Chafed at Society and Its Constraints, Dies at 71″.

I feel fortunate to have seen him live just as he was turning extremely cynical and some might argue very angry. He reminded me a lot of Friedrich Nietzsche. Many confuse their bitterness as something negative. Humans find it hard to accept truths about themselves, no matter how ugly it can be.

But as much as I wish I could have seen him live one last time, I am glad he has left us with so many recorded performances. I am especially looking forward to watching the award ceremony this fall on PBS The 11th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor: A Tribute to George Carlin.

The master is gone, but he will not be forgotten.