George Carlin: In his own words

Some final thoughts from George Carlin himself, via interviews. "Gee, he was just here a minute ago." That’s how Carlin wanted to be remembered. More from the vaults:

Perhaps his final interview? He spoke with Psychology Today 10 days before his death, and because of the nature of the magazine, Carlin reflected on a lot about his own life, from his ancestors, his upbringing, his drug use, and here is a quite wonderful passage in which he invokes an idea from Arthur Koestler that reminds us all of the power of humor:

The jester makes jokes, he’s funny, he makes fun, he ridicules. But if his ridicules are based on sound ideas and thinking, then he can proceed to the second panel, which is the thinker—he called it the
philosopher. The jester becomes the philosopher, and if he does these things with dazzling language that we marvel at, then he becomes a poet too. Then the jester can be a thinking jester who thinks poetically.

I didn’t see that and say, “That’s what I am going to do,” but I guess it made an impression on me. I was never afraid to grow and change. I never was afraid of reversing my field on people, and I just think I’ve become a touch of each of those second and third descriptions and I definitely have a gift for language that is rhythmic and attractive to the ear, and I have interesting imagery which I guess is a poetic touch. And I like the fact that most of my things are based on solid ideas, things I’ve thought about in a new way for me, things for which I have said “Well, what about this? Suppose you look at it this way? How about that?” And then you heighten and exaggerate that, because comedy’s all about heightening and exaggerating. And anyways I guess I was impressed that there was another thing from my early life that probably at least
influenced me to some level.

And there is so much more in that interview to discover the insight of Carlin.

In February, just before his final HBO special, Carlin also provided keen answers in interviews to HBO and to the Huffington Post. Read them here, and here.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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