Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Posts Tagged ‘stand-up comic

George Carlin, 1937-2008 : The “Class Clown” Theory

with 4 comments

by Treadmarkz

I read the news today that George Carlin, comic, philosopher and First Amendment antagonist had died (I won’t say “passed on” because George wouldn’t like that). I have been a devoted fan of his since I was about 18. I didn’t always agree with him, but I was always entertained. When I watched his most recent HBO Special back in March, I thought that he didn’t look well, and it got me wondering how many more of those Specials he was going to be able to give us. He spoke of death in his last Special, but he spoke of death a lot. Any good comic does. But what I will never forget about Carlin is how he would take an issue, usually a really juicy one, and put a twist on it, stripping it right down to the core of the matter. And after George’s take on it, if they still were unable to see it from a new perspective, well…George did what he could. But that was the best part of his act, how he could take an issue like National Security, Nuclear War, drugs, or the death penalty, or even disabilities, and turn them inside out and make them look silly.

Carlin once said “I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.” Sound’s good to me. Somebody’s gotta do it.

My favorite George Carlin routine is “Football and Baseball” because I love baseball, but George forced me to see the ridiculous side of the game. If you listen to him without judging he may help you see at least a glimmer of silliness in all that you hold dear. So I am going to post it here.
I think about Carlin sometimes when I am writing about real subversive subjects like handicapped bathrooms, or the word “cripple” or comments people make to me about my disability, and I think “What Would Carlin Say?”.

What I’ve learned from Carlin is what I would call the “Class Clown” theory: They can’t laugh at you if they are laughing with you. And if they laugh enough, they can’t help but agree with you, or at least try to see your side of the story, because laughter, somehow, seems to make this world make a whole lot of sense. And that is what made George Carlin great. Not just any comic can do it the way he did.

Thanks, George