From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
George Carlin (born May 12, 1937) is a stand-up comedian, actor, and author, noted especially for his irreverent attitude and his observations on language and religion.
At age 17, Carlin dropped out of high school and joined the United States Air Force, training as a radar technician. He was stationed in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he began working as a disc jockey on a local radio station. He did not complete his Air Force enlistment.
At the age of 18, he and Jack Burns, a new announcer at the station, assembled a comedy routine and began booking nightclubs. Soon the act broke up. Carlin continued to work as a stand-up comic.
- Indian war parties ("You wit' the beads...get outta line"),
- Stupid disc jockeys ("Wonderful WINO...")
- Al Sleet, the "hippie-dippie weatherman."
In this period he also perfected what is perhaps his best-known routine, "Seven Words You Can't Say on the Radio." This routine offended some. In 1973, a father complained to the FCC that his son had heard the Carlin routine broadcast one afternoon over WBAI, a Pacifica Foundation FM radio station in New York City. Pacifica received a citation from the FCC, which sought to fine Pacifica for allegedly violating FCC regulations which prohibited broadcasting "obscene" material. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the FCC action, by a vote of 5 to 4, ruling that the routine was "indecent but not obscene," and the FCC had authority to prohibit such broadcasts during hours when children were likely to be among the audience. FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978). The controversy only increased Carlin's fame (or notoriety). Carlin eventually expanded the dirty-words theme with a seemingly interminable end to a performance (ending with his voice fading out in the HBO version), and a set of 49 web pages organized by subject and embracing 2,443 Dirty Words.
In December 2003, a U.S. congressman introduced a bill (H.R. 3687) to outlaw the broadcast of Carlin's seven "dirty words," including "compound use (including hyphenated compounds) of such words and phrases with each other or with other words or phrases, and other grammatical forms of such words and phrases (including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms)." (The bill omits "tits," and includes "ass" and "asshole" which were not part of Carlin's original routine).
In the 1970s, Carlin became known for unpredictable performances. He would walk off if no one laughed, verbally insult the audience, or simply not appear. In the 1980s Carlin reformed. By 1989 Carlin became popular with teens when he was cast as a mentor, Rufus in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Carlin performs regularly as a headliner in Las Vegas.
As a staunch atheist, Carlin has often denounced the idea of a god in interviews and performances. In mockery he invented a fake religion called Frisbeetarianism for a newspaper contest. He defined it as the belief that when one dies his soul is flung onto the roof, where it can never be retrieved.
James Sherman, the Chicago playwright, revived the joke of this mock religion in his 2002 play "Old Man's Friend" as some comic relief in the context of a daughter reconciling with her father when the doctor diagnoses her dad as having cancer and gives him six months to live.