New York’s comedy community turns out to dedicate George Carlin Way on West 121st Street

More remarkable than anyone who spoke at last week’s dedication of George Carlin Way were the throngs of comedians in the background, humbly present to pay their respects once more to the legendary comedian who grew up on West 121st Street in New York City’s Morningside Heights, where a street sign now marks his turf posthumously and permanently.

Robert Klein stood beaming in the background. Orson Bean, Carlin’s former neighbor, was there. So, too, were Gilbert Gottfried, Dave Attell, Judah Friedlander, Jim Norton, Eddie Brill, Rick Overton, Dan Pasternack, John Fugelsang, Lizz Winstead and more — Ted Alexandro, Katie Goodman, Rain Pryor among the many I spotted, and I couldn’t stick around before or after the ceremony. Caroline Hirsch, graciously hosting a further and undeniably down-and-dirtier celebration that night at her namesake club in Times Square.

Colin Quinn did speak for the comedians, choosing as is his wont to have notes but fly off extemporaneously from them.

Sally Wade, whom Carlin loved so much in his final years you could devote a whole book to their courtship, fought back tears as she read from one of George’s love letters to New York City.

Carlin’s surviving brother, Patrick, shared plenty of childhood memories from the block. Carlin’s only child, daughter Kelly, delivered the opening remarks and some closing ones, too. After a message from City Councilman Mark Levine ended with a play on George Carlin’s infamous “seven dirty words,” Kelly Carlin smiled and added: “Dad is already happy. We got a politician to say ‘motherfucker.'”

And they all shared praise for Kevin Bartini, the comedian who spearheaded the effort for three years to convince New York City to put the street sign up to honor Carlin.

Kelly Carlin closing out the #7dirtywords tribute show to her dad. Colin Quinn next to her. #latergram

A photo posted by Jennifer L. Pozner (@jennpozner) on

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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