George Carlin Dead at 71

George Carlin was absolutely the very best stand-up comedian in the history of the business. Only Robin Williams in his prime was even in the same league. I have quite a few of his albums, and I find I can still listen to them with pleasure even though I have most of the routines memorized. The cadence of his voice and the strength of his writing make them enjoyable even long after their impact as humor has worn off. You will learn more about good teaching from observing his technique than you ever will in a teaching seminar or education course. The New York Times has a good article about his life. It closes with this worthy paragraph:

Still, when pushed to explain the pessimism and overt spleen that had crept into his act, he quickly reaffirmed the zeal that inspired his lists of complaints and grievances. “I don’t have pet peeves,” he said, correcting the interviewer. And with a mischievous glint in his eyes, he added, “I have major, psychotic hatreds.”

Below the fold I’ve placed one of his best recent routines, one which well illustrates his skill at word play and his keen observations of modern times. He will be missed.

I’m a Modern Man

I’m a modern man, a man for the millennium, digital and smoke free.
A diversified multicultural postmodern deconstructionist,
Politically anatomically and ecologically incorrect.

I’ve been uplinked and downloaded. I’ve been inputted and outsourced.
I know the upside of downsizing. I know the downside of upgrading.

I’m a high tech lowlife. A cutting edge state-of-the-art bicoastal multitasker,
and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond.

I’m new wave but I’m old school, and my inner child is outward bound.
I’m a hot wired heat seeking warm hearted cool customer, voice activated and biodegradable.

I interface from a database, and my database is in cyberspace, so I’m interactive,
I’m hyperactive, and from time-to-time, I’m radioactive.

Behind the eight ball, ahead of the curve, riding the wave,
dodging a bullet, pushing the envelope.

I’m on point, On task, On message, And off drugs.
I got no need for coke and speed, I got no urge to binge and purge.

I’m in the moment, On the edge, Over the top, But under the radar.

A high concept, Low profile, Medium range ballistic missionary.
A street-wise smart bomb. A top gun bottom feeder.

I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps, I run victory laps.

I’m a totally ongoing bigfoot slam dunk rainmaker with a proactive outreach.

A raging workaholic. A working ragaholic.
Out of rehab, and in denial.

I got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant, and a personal agenda.

You can’t shut me up, you can’t dumb me down. ‘Cause I’m tireless, and I’m wireless.
I’m an alpha male on beta blockers.

I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever. Laid back but fashion forward.
Up front, Down home, Low rent, High maintenance.

Super size, long lasting, high definition, fast acting, oven ready, and built to last.

I’m a hands on, foot loose, knee jerk, head case.
Prematurely post traumatic, And I have a love child who sends me hate mail.

But I’m feeling, I’m caring, I’m healing, I’m sharing.

A supportive bonding nurturing primary care giver.

My output is down, but my income is up.
I take a short position on the long bond,
And my revenue stream has its own cash flow.

I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds, I watch trash sports.

I’m gender specific, capital intensive, user friendly, and lactose intolerant.

I like rough sex. I like tough love. I use the f word in my email,
And the software on my hard drive is hard core, no soft porn.

I bought a microwave at a mini mall. I bought a mini van in a mega store.
I eat fast food in the slow lane.

I’m toll free, bite sized, ready to wear, and I come in all sizes.

A fully equipped, factory authorized, hospital tested, clinically proven,
Scientifically formulated medical miracle.

I’ve been pre-washed, pre-cooked, pre-heated, pre-screened,
pre-approved, pre-packaged, post-dated, freeze-dried,
double-wrapped, vacuum-packed, and I have an unlimited broadband capacity.

I’m a rude dude, but I’m the real deal. Lean and mean.
Cocked, locked and ready to rock. Rough tough and hard to bluff.

I take it slow. I go with the flow. I ride with the tide. I got glide in my stride.
Drivin’ and movin’, sailin’ and spinnin’, jivin’ and groovin’, wailin’ and winnin’.

I don’t snooze, so I don’t lose. I keep the pedal to the metal,
And the rubber on the road.

I party hearty, and lunch time is crunch time.
I’m hanging in, there ain’t no doubt.
And I’m hanging tough, over and out.


  1. #1 AL
    June 23, 2008

    Carlin’s my favorite comedian. R.I.P.

  2. #2 Joe
    June 23, 2008

    Jason, of all the tributes today, I think your short quote I have major, psychotic hatreds… sums it best. And thanks for the longer essay that I had never seen. He inspired critical thinking. RIP.

  3. #3 mk
    June 23, 2008


    First two commentors on this atheist’s blog about his tribute to a great atheist and they both use R.I.P.

    George Carlin made me laugh.

  4. #4 Collin
    June 23, 2008

    There are very few times that I feel the need to write something about someone who “was just here a minute ago.” But Carlin was one of the thinkers of my time that helped to fully inform my atheism. Of course reading all the wonderful scientific works was great and awe-inspiring but listening to Carlin rip into religion…well that was just damned fun. Luckily, I was able to see him perform twice in the last few years. A prayer of thanks to the sun and Joe Pesci for George Carlin.

  5. #5 Art
    June 23, 2008

    I loved George Carlin’s irreverence. Those things he couldn’t bring down to size by contrasting their pretension against their actual content and context he simply laughed at. I think he understood that in the end everything viewed in the wider context is absurd. That the last, best and most appropriate response to life is always laughter.

    He will be missed.

  6. #6 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    June 24, 2008

    He said for me, the way I can only wish I could.

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