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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Night At The Movies

In memory of George Carlin: 7 movies you can’t see on TV

By Dennis Hartley

Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck-George Carlin

As I am sure you are aware by now, one of the last living legends of American comedy went up to the roof last Sunday…and got stuck. I’m still reeling (and he’s still stuck).

I can’t really add much to what was already said here on this site earlier this week in a couple of heartfelt posts by digby and dday, or to the eloquent comments they prompted from Hullabaloo readers. For what it’s worth, here was my gut reaction to dday’s post:

No, not Carlin. It's been a while since I actually teared up and got the lump in the throat upon hearing of the demise of an entertainer. It feels like the end of an era.

As a former stand up comic myself, I consider Carlin one of the Holy Trinity (along with Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor). I once had the pleasure of doing a phone interview with him when I was working at a radio station up in Fairbanks AK; he was pleasantly surprised and genuinely flattered when I asked him about his very close association with the legacy of Lenny Bruce. He seemed to feel that many of his younger fans didn't "get" that part of his gestalt.

Not only a comic genius, but a true wordsmith.

71 was too soon.

One obvious recommendation would be to immerse yourself in a marathon of his HBO specials, but I thought I would do something a little different this week. I’ve assembled a “George Carlin memorial film festival”. As a tribute to his most well-known routine, I’ve chosen seven feature films for your viewing pleasure, and in his memory. Carlin only actually appeared in three of my selections, but I feel that these are films that capture some of the spirit of what he stood for (or stood against). So here are “7 movies you can’t see on TV” (as in “free” TV-where you will never to be able to view them uncensored.)

Lenny-Carlin on comedians: I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.

Dogma- Carlin on organized religion: I have as much authority as the Pope; I just don’t have as many people who believe it.

Fuck-A Documentary- Carlin on obscenity: Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits. (Reviewed in a previous post)

The People vs. Larry Flynt- Carlin on freedom: I think people should be allowed to do anything they want. We haven’t tried for a while. Maybe this time it’ll work.

Idiocracy- Carlin on ignorance: Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that. (Reviewed in a previous post)

Grass- Carlin on toking up: Being a very bound-up, Irish Catholic tight-assholed person, I’ve often thought that whatever negative effects pot had on me, it probably saved me from being an alcoholic and a complete fucking brainless idiot by the time I was 25. (Reviewed in a previous post)

The Aristocrats- Carlin on the art of comedy:

…And a programming note: Depending on your age (ahem) you may or may not know that George Carlin was the guest host for the premiere episode of Saturday Night Live back in 1975. NBC is going to be airing that show in its entirety this evening as a tribute.

BTW that first show also featured Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Michael O’Donaghue, Andy Kaufman, Billy Preston and (the hands and voice of) Jim Henson; I have a feeling it will be a bittersweet viewing experience.

The end of an era, indeed.