Wednesday, June 25, 2008

He's Screaming Up at Us

I really can't do George Carlin any more justice than Jon, or any other of the dozens of brilliant writers who have expressed their love and admiration for the man since he passed. So instead I'm just going to tell you what the man meant to me.

George Carlin is the reason this blog is here.

Until about 1999, I was quite unknowing in the ways of comedy. I knew funny when I saw it, but couldn't separate or replicate it. Like everyone "I loved to laugh" (Thank You Patton Oswalt), but when it came to my own understanding of comedy, I was very awkward. I can distinctly recall the first time I made a group of people laugh intentionally. It was the spring of 1999, I was a freshman in high school, and during a music class, the teacher said "Pachelbel" and I immediately quipped "Did you say Taco Bell?". The whole room laughed. It felt amazing.

Christmas of that year, my parents bought a CD for my brother and I called "You Are All Diseased". "What's this?" we asked. "Stand-up Comedy" said my parents. I was unaware that, like music, which makes you feel emotions, there were CDs that made you laugh. More than CDs. People. People who, without clown make-up, could just say funny things that would make me die laughing.

A short list of all the people George Carlin introduced me to:
Patton Oswalt, Zach Galafianakis, Brian Posehn, Maria Bamford, David Cross, Eugene Mirman, H. Jon Benjamin, Mitch Hedberg (R.I.P.) Morgan Murphy, Demetri Martin, Doug Benson, Arj Barker, Tony Camin, Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks (R.I.P.), Louis C.K., Daniel Tosh, Jay Mohr, Jim Bruer, Jim Gaffigan, Kevin James, Mike Birbiglia, Todd Barry, Paul F. Tompkins, Dave Attell, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, David Wainever he feels like it, Nick Swardson, Chris Hardwick, Nick Thune, Todd Glass, Neil Hamburger, Ian Edwards, Scott Aukerman, Mindy Kaling, Dan Mintz, Paul F. Tompkins, Early Adam Sandler, Sarah Silverman, Jonathan Katz, Ron White, and Dana Carvey.

If I had never gotten that first George Carlin CD, I would have no idea what funny is.

Like many other events in my life (or certain events in anyones life), I can distinctly recall where I was, what I was doing, when I heard George was dead. I was sleeping. I had been ignoring my phone, except to see who called or texted. John texted me at 12:01pm. "Farewell, Mr. Carlin". I immediately jumped out of bed and went to Yahoo!News. It was horribly, awfully true.

Which brings me to my conclusion. Phrases like "I laughed, I cried" are exactly the kind of crap George hated. I hate them too. But I'll say this: George Carlin made me laugh, and cry. I laughed everytime I heard his voice, and cried my eyes out when I knew I'd never hear it say something new, and funny, and intelligent, and profound.

He's Screaming Up at Us.

I'll always be listening.

"....But the great thing about George is, he left us hours upon hours of video to remember him with."- Jon Stewart

RIP GEORGE CARLIN 5.12.1937-6.22.2008

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