Monday, June 23, 2008

Tonight's Weather Forecast: Dark. George Carlin Has Died

Anyone who's familiar with the work of George Carlin will recognize the first part of this post's title; it's from Carlin's famous routine, The Hippy-Dippy Weatherman.

George Carlin died yesterday at the age of 71 from what's being described as heart failure, though I didn't learn of his death until this morning. Though 71 doesn't seem that old by today's standards, Carlin had suffered from heart problems for years.

Carlin spoofed all kinds of subjects, from the sacred to the inane. Among the former were the Catholic Church, Vietnam, and of course the "seven dirty words" and "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television." Among the less-weighty topics he tackled were the too-cool-for-school mellow-voiced FM disk jockeys, consumerism, and the contradictions of daily life. One of my favorite Carlin lines was from the "Al Sleet," the afore-mentioned hippy-dippy weatherman — "Tonight's forecast: Dark. Continued dark throughout most of the evening, with some widely-scattered light towards morning."

Reading some of his obituaries, I learned some things I never knew or had long forgotten: he was the host of the very first show of Saturday Night Live; he performed in suit and tie on the Ed Sullivan Show and elsewhere before becoming a long-haired counterculture figure; he was present at the arrest of groundbreaking comedian Lenny Bruce.

You can find an interview Carlin did with The Onion here, and read of his extensive movie appearances here.

Rest in peace, George.

No comments :