George Carlin’s Finale

Jay Dixit in Psychology Today:

“If the jester’s jokes are based on sound ideas, he becomes the thinker, the philosopher,” George Carlin said, “and if he uses dazzling language, he becomes a poet, too.” More than any comic in memory, Carlin achieved this transmutation—as much cultural essayist as comedian, beloved not just for his jokes but also for the rhythm and poetry of his words. Nine days before his death, he spoke to PT. Sadly, the two-hour interview would be his last. For an extended version, visit [here].

On experience. I’ve been doing this 50 years. By this time it’s all second nature. It’s all a machine—the observation, the immediate evaluation of the observation, the mental filing of it, writing it down. A 20-year-old has a limited amount of data. At 70, the matrix is more textured and has more contours to it. Observations are compared against a much richer data set.

On his gift for language. My grandfather was a New York City policeman. During his adult life, he wrote out Shakespeare’s tragedies longhand just for the joy it gave him. My mother had a great gift for language. My father was an after-dinner speaker, a great raconteur. They both were very funny and gifted verbally. The Irish have a genetic tradition, it seems, an affinity for language and expression. I got that. As the Irish say: “You don’t lick it off the rocks, kid.” It comes in the blood.