George Carlin: From Buttoned Down To Hippy Dippy

George Carlin was the uber-seinfeld long before anyone ever heard of Jerry. His work was sharp, topical, insightful and clever. But most of all very, very funny.

The tributes I have heard the past few days often discuss his keen devotion to his craft. He worked hard at being funny. That may sound like an oxymoron but it ain’t. I would guess that most great comedians are naturally funny but the best work at just the right phrasing and tinker with the timing until it is perfect.

Few remember Carlin in his early days. The quotes throughout are from an interview with George printed in a story on the NPR website here.

His early act was marked by clever wordplay and spoofs of popular culture. He showed up on Ed Sullivan or The Tonight Show in his suit and tie throughout the 1960s. America loved the clean-cut New Yorker.

“I went through about eight or nine years of what essentially were the extended 1950s, sort of a button-down period. But that was when the country was changing,” he said.

Once he changed to embrace the times, he became part of the change. Certainly his Seven Words That You Cannot Say On Television became the focal point of his attack on hypocrisy and stupidity. Heck, they  got him arrested for disturbing the peace and later became part of a Supreme Court ruling. Even though the Court ruled in favor of FCC control over when that bit could be to be aired, I have this image of the Justices playing the tape over and over while laughing their asses off in chambers.

This is how George thought of his  later work.

“I like to find out where the line might be drawn and then deliberately cross it,” he said during an NPR interview in 2000. “There are an awful lot of taboos. … I just enjoy squashing them and stepping on them and peeling them apart and trying to expose them to people. For some reason, it makes me happy.”

While not controversial, I always enjoyed the Hippy Dippy weatherman bit.  In fact every time I heard him I cracked up.

Unfortunately there will be no new George Carlin material. Fortunately he left a treasure trove behind.

Thanks for the laughs George.

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About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

One Response to George Carlin: From Buttoned Down To Hippy Dippy

  1. Michael Petrucelli says:

    He was one of my hero’s, I am going to miss his wit and his truth-telling (in the guise of comedy),

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