Oh my God. George Carlin is dead. I cannot believe it.
I only met him once. It was in New York City. I was in college. My friend Paul was working at WMCA for the summer. I’m not quite sure what Paul did there, but he’d wangled his way inside. That would be the theme of Paul’s life. He was very good at it.
WMCA’s studio was large and white. There were signs, printed not handwritten, reminding guests that the mics were “always on.”
Carlin was intense.
I remember him first as the Hippy Dippy Weatherman and then watched as his modus operandi changed with time. Carlin’s strength was his use of language. He had a visceral understanding of its incongruities. His humor was lost on those who wanted to see comedy without thinking.
He seemed angry recently. His act sometimes even seemed a little mean. The Times called him splenetic. Perfect. I suspect he didn’t suffer fools gladly. It must have irked him to have people write second rate material in his name and then spread it across the Internet.
In the mid-70s I saw George Carlin at the Tower Theater, just outside Philadelphia. I was far from the stage. It was an awful way to see a comedian and I went home unhappy.
George Carlin leaves a huge legacy of comedy. I thought he’d live forever.