I’m getting very tired of writing obituaries, but I couldn’t fail to pay my respects to comedy legend George Carlin. He died Sunday of heart failure. He was 71.
He leaves behind a long legacy as a comedian and as a champion of freedom of speech, mostly as a result of his controversial routine “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” which actually sparked a Supreme Court case.
As with my favorite British comic, Eddie Izzard, I didn’t agree with a lot of what Carlin had to say about religion, but I still found him very, very funny and thought provoking. I got a real charge out of some of his observational humor, including his famous line about gas station bathrooms: “Why do they lock them? Are they afraid someone might break in and clean them?”
I also absolutely loved his take on language, especially the bit that went along the lines of: ”Has anyone ever actually been fine and dandy? I’ve often been fine, but not dandy. I have on occasionally been dandy, but never at the same time as I was in fact fine.” I just thought the way he broke down some of the silly things we say without thinking was incredibly intelligent and insightful.
Of course, I can’t leave out a mention of his famous role as Rufus the time-traveling guide in the classic ’80s comedy “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” He made that whole telephone booth gag work with his sheer coolness. And you gotta love his turn as the voice of the hippy-dippy VW van in the Pixar hit “Cars.”
Carlin’s first wife, Brenda, died in 1997. He is survived by wife Sally Wade; daughter Kelly Carlin McCall; son-in-law Bob McCall; brother Patrick Carlin; and sister-in-law Marlene Carlin. Our thoughts are with them.
You can read the full Associated Press obit for Carlin by clicking here.