Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits.
I have lots of ideas. Trouble is, most of them suck.
Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.
The planet is fine. The people are fucked.
You show me a lazy prick who’s lying in bed all day, watching TV, only occasionally getting up to piss, and I’ll show you a guy who’s not causing any trouble.
I don’t have pet peeves - I have major psychotic fucking hatreds.
A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.
Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.
Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.
I saw George Carlin - an American Dream Documentary recently. Most of these are notes from that show.
George Carlin (1937 - 2008) was a craftsman of words. He had clever takes on life, partisan politics and consumerism. He was asked once, “Do I try to make audiences think?” “No, no no because that would be the kiss of death. But what i want them to know is that i’m thinking. It’s part of that showoff and dropout syndrome. I think i need to show them that i have brought myself to a cleverer, smarter spot than they have”.
He knew what he wanted right from the beginning. His 5th grade - notebook said he wanted to be a Disc Jockey, Comedian, Actor, Big Success. He knew he loved standing up in front of the crowds and getting attention.
Growing up and early life
The parents are abusive. Obviously! Isn’t that the main ingredient for an artist? Both parents have a strong background in English language. Parents get separated early. Father is an alcoholic, bad husband and dies when he is 8. Parents get separated early. Mom is controlling and an alcoholic herself. Grows up in post WWII. He wanted to be Danny K, the musically funny actor.
Starts questioning authority right when he was a kid. Leaves home when he became 17. A funny bit - he gifted his brother a card which said for the day when everything is going down - and inside is an image of his father’s gravestone.
Serves in the army, and court martialed thrice. Do you see the comedian in making already?
Moves to California. Collaborates with Jack Burns, probably not related to Ken Burns who makes the longest documentaries that surpass the life of our solar system. Growing up, he becomes a fan of Lenny Bruce - who is redefining comedy at the time. Lenny gets arrested for obscenity. George is in the audience for the show, is asked to show his ID, he refuses and is arrested and thrown in the same van as Lenny Bruce. Lenny calls him a Schmuck while they are both sitting in the police van.
Quits after 2 years after collaborating with Jack Burns.
Meets Brenda - later his wife after 5 months of dating. The rise of the star begins. Good things happen. Kelly, their daughter is born. Civil Rights movement picks up in the 60s. He’s the suit and tie comedian. He performs in front of the president, who is stonily silent. Later, Kennedy dies not because of his comedy.
Here’s the hard part, he’s not making a lot of money at this time. He’s getting good though, he can write really fast. He is like-able, doing a lot of variety shows, but not his style. Trying to understand the kind of artist he is. He and Richard Pryor showed up together once.
By 1966, he is really big, wife feels left out, because she didn’t know what do with her husband’s fame. Carlin hired an agent, now Brenda’s job is gone, she can only baby sit the kid. Depressed and stay-at-home mom.
Tries his hands on acting, realizes this is not natural for him, because there is no training. Realizes the goal for anyone should be that the work and life are as close to each other as possible. Starts doing acid next. Gets fired from Las Vegas for saying shit, that was the final straw. He was making $250,000 before that, now came down to $12,000 a year.
Finds his voice in the rebellious air around him. Becomes vocal about those causes, rebrands himself in 1969 with the hippie look to differentiate, doesn’t want to be the regular suit and tie comedian. Starts booking small venues again.
Style of comedy: Jokes about birthcontrol and faith are dominating. Words are gold.
Late 1960s, you can only do clean sets on cable television. He releases his first vinyl record where he is using some banned words on the vinyl. Album called Class Clown. He describes his own work at the time as:
I have to think of the irony and then craft it into beautiful words.
He’s getting into drugs as America is getting into drugs. Gets arrested again for the suspicion of cultivating marijuana in his house.
He would treat farting with the same level of scrutiny as pope, the war machine.Jon Stewart
1972 - he gets arrested for the filthy words controversy from the stage. Gives rise to his iconic set of 7 banned words - shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits. He’s becoming addicted to coke, wife is becoming an even bigger drunk. He is arrested but the charges are dropped because his words don’t cause a disturbance. Words by themselves are nothing, all that matters is the context.
He starts hitting a low, a lull, does his first SNL in 1975, where the jokes aren’t as good. He is doing jokes on peas, he is being parodied. Articles come out saying “Carlin is obsolete”
I don’t define myself by much more than my career. When i am not actually doing my work, i am planning to or thinking about it. I never go anywhere or do anything that transports me outside the boundaries of my mind.
While performing was rolling 20 joints on stage. Drug condition was bad.
By 1982, he got his second heart attack while at a baseball game. He tried a few things, like making a biopic, and is involved in some case for bad taxes for the last 3 years. Articles about his downfall continue.
Makes a comeback by performing at the Carnegie hall after taking a hiatus. It is a hit. The revived him is angrier and stronger. He sees the other comedians making it big.
This motherfucker is good, and i want to rise to his level and not get lost in the dust.
Life gets better, relationship with wife gets better, her alcoholism stops.
Style of comedy: Does the war jokes, on abortion, pro-women jokes at that time.
Rediscovers that he’s a writer and an artist and not just a performer. Keeps focussing on writing. Wants to collaborate more at this time, Seinfeld is becoming a hit TV show. Drops his own TV show and quits.
1997 Brenda gets liver cancer. A day before his 60th birthday, she passes away. He’s busier than ever. He wanted to Letterman’s show and was on his press tour. He loved his wife.
Met new girl Sally 6 months later. Felt like kids with her. Told Ben Affleck, that he is the fairy king in the relationship with her.
You can’t care and be really funny at the same time. - Carlin.
He became darker towards the end. He kinda gave up hope on humans and humanity and believed, we are at a point we cannot be rescued from. He would crack jokes about happiness he gets from a lot of people dying, people still tried to understand if he’s actually hopeful or not. A beautiful quote to summarise when an interviewer tried to question him about this in an interview
If you scratch a cynic, you will find a disappointed idealist.