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George Carlin

Famed for his landmark "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" routine, George Carlin filled the void created by the death of Lenny Bruce, honing a provocative, scathing comic style that bravely explored the limits of free speech and good taste. George Dennis Carlin was born on May 12, 1937, in the Bronx, NY. While serving a stint in the military, he was stationed in Shreveport, LA, where he began working as a disc jockey; after working with fellow radio personality Jack Burns on a Shreveport morning show, in 1955 the duo began performing in clubs as a comedy team. Burns & Carlin made their recorded debut in 1960 with a live show consisting of their rendition of Lenny Bruce's "Dijinni in the Candy Store" routine (Bruce was an early supporter of the duo as well as a major influence), along with a spot-on impersonation of Mort Sahl and the sketch "Captain Jack and Jolly George," a spoof of children's shows inviting young girls to "send for your Lolita kit."

By and large, the Burns & Carlin team found little success, and eventually broke up; their album was released on the tiny Era Records label under the name Burns & Carlin at the Playboy Club Tonight (despite having been recorded at Hollywood's Cosmo Alley), but failed to generate much attention. Meanwhile, Burns split to begin working with Avery Schreiber. Striking out on his own, Carlin initially worked in roles that cast him as a clean-cut, straight-laced performer; his proper solo debut, 1967's Take Offs and Put Ons (recorded at The Roostertail in Detroit, MI) offered clever if mild-mannered routines like "Wonderful WINO," about a mindless disc jockey. That year he was also tapped to co-star in Away We Go, a summer replacement series for The Jackie Gleason Show; still, despite his success, Carlin found his suit-and-tie image stifling, and began gravitating toward the image and ideals of the counterculture.

Re-emerging as a long-haired, bearded, denim-clad hippie, he lost many of his high-paying gigs, but his riffs on sex, drugs, and politics quickly gained an avid following among the fringe culture. While 1972's FM & AM offered an even split between the safer material of his past work and the more incendiary routines of the "new" Carlin, 1972's Class Clown and the following year's Occupation Foole marked his full evolution into a counterculture icon. Most notably, Class Clown featured the recorded debut of the "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" bit, the subject of a Supreme Court ruling after the FCC nearly stripped Pacifica Radio of its FM license for playing the routine on the air. At the same time, Carlin himself was arrested after a Milwaukee concert appearance for violating local obscenity laws.

The controversy only made him a bigger star, and in 1975 he was tapped to host the debut episode of the NBC sketch comedy showcase Saturday Night Live. The same year also saw the release of the LP An Evening with Wally Londo Featuring Bill Slaszo, highlighted by an early performance of what soon evolved into his popular "Baseball -- Football" routine. In 1976 Carlin appeared in the film Car Wash, and in 1977 he issued On the Road. However, as a new breed of way-out comedians like Steve Martin, Robin Williams, and Andy Kaufman began to emerge, Carlin's brand of incisive sociopolitical commentary began to fall from favor; plagued by substance abuse problems, he did not record again until 1981's A Place for My Stuff, and gained a reputation for unpredictable, often abusive on-stage behavior.

By the middle of the decade, he resurfaced clean and sober for 1985's Carlin on Campus and 1986's Playin' with Your Head, which reprised material from recent cable TV and home video performances. After 1988's What Am I Doing in New Jersey?, he found a new following among teens thanks to his appearances in the popular Bill and Ted screen comedies; in the early '90s, he courted an even younger audience by assuming the lead role on the PBS children's series Shining Time Station. Still, Carlin did not neglect his core audience; 1990's Parental Advisory, Explicit Lyrics and 1992's Jammin' in New York found him as feisty as ever, and in 1994 he starred as an abrasive cabdriver in the short-lived Fox television sitcom The George Carlin Show. Additionally, he continued to tour constantly, and in 1997 issued the album Back in Town. Like many of his '90s recordings, 1999's You Are All Diseased was issued as a complement to an hourlong HBO special.

Carlin continued to perform throughout the country on an intensive basis, and issued his politically fueled Complaints and Grievances shortly after the September 11th tragedy. It was followed by 2006's Life Is Worth Losing and 2008's It's Bad for Ya. Both featured some of his bleakest material to date, the latter being driven by the subject of death. It was announced that Carlin would be the recipient of the 2008 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, to be awarded in November 2008 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Only days later, on June 22, 2008, Carlin died of heart failure in Santa Monica, CA. The Kennedy Center announced that Carlin would receive the prize posthumously and that the November event would be dedicated to him. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Woah he sounded so young
Follow for follow
Carlin one of the best ever!
F**k a** s**t f**ot c**t dick p**sy tits bitchdick f**ot a** c**t
This guy was a legend....To o bad hes gone.
Chris William if you don't who carlin is.. Your mama should have never over swallowed. I bet your parents really over worried bout you! It's one of George carlin star jokes bout spoiled child like you William !
Mr. George Carlin, you are a GOD of humor!!!!
R I P GEORGE!
Miss you George. Comedy died.
carlaespana8 8
Chimpanzees also commit genocide ! though that may be why theyre so closely related to us. Mother Nature u scary
Wow! just like today's politics, "business as usual" love you GC
One of the greatest comedians and always can make you laugh
king george i will miss you always
He's halorouis..d a m n shame he passed away
Who. Is. This. Person
Skrew. Him
Ron. White
I saw him in Person at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater about 3 or 4 years ago. He was really great.To bad he had to pass.
tonimariez33 3
He rocks period.
Animals kill each other all the time
Damn Mr.Carlin its sad you left us but your in a better place I hope where ever that is Rest in Paradise sir you were more than a comedian you were a Genius and Educator for people willing to listen RIP !
R.I.P before his time he is the a modern visionary and artist
The "A Modern Man" bit is some good word play.. It's funny how an old man can rap better than most rappers even though he's just talking not even rapping... Genius... R.I.P. GC
I think I've learned more from Mr Carlin than I ever hoped from listening to a comedian. That's because he helped shaped not only what I think, but also how I think,which to me is more important than I can explain. Thanks George, not only for the laughs but for the education. RIP.
More Stuff on Cars. I love George Carlin's comedy and sometimes that goes hand in hand with Cheech and Chong. I love Cheech and Chong's comedy too.
Rest in peace, never better than u Carlin!
Wtf is this nonsense
tadeuszwarde n c k i
best comedian ever life well spent
rip george your are allways the best
RIP Mr carlin! i grew up listening to your awsome comedy
hvega813
Long live George Carlin!
Mr.Carlin's seven words paved the way for modern tv and movies. The man was and is a f@#$ing genius! We miss u george
RIP. ONE OF THE GREATEST OF ALL TIMES.
R.I.P The greatest comedian of all time
R.I.P.
wilheimrice
R.I.P. You amazing b**tard.
G.O.A.T and narrated Thomas the Tank cartoons after he grew old and came to know Jesus..the Greatest
Taking about god what a dumbass
Carlin was and is a comedy legend. Respect where respect is due.
bogauscha
I really HATE this guy but pandora keeps playing it ��
Saw him in Vegas,was very funny the first 30 mins, but...it was down hill after that, so much so, we just left.
This country's f**ked
jmcase2421
He is funny, but I'm not a fan of that one time when he was talking bad about reenactors.
Greatest of all time
walsh.logan
He's down there now, screaming up at us.
Genius!
799969898
A genius with words and phrases. The opposite of lazy when it comes to memorization . His books are great and the crankier he got, the better. Long live Carlin.
piersonalexa n d e r
god doesn't give a s**t
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