When it comes to comedy there are artists who emerge as being iconic images of genius; Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor and, of course, George Carlin, to name a few.
Modern society, and perhaps all throughout civilization, there has been a great attempt to corral people into neatly organized herds– whether it be by race, religion, political affiliation or even what kind of music you listen to.
Sometimes this is done autonomously and other times the motivation is a bit more sinister, but it has become a noted element of human behavior.
In today’s political atmosphere, there’s an effort to wrangle individuals into ‘Team Blue’ or ‘Team Red’, and this was true during Carlin’s time as well.
At a cursory observation, George would have likely struck you as a liberal; one of yesteryear’s hippies who wandered off the beaten path and somehow stumbled into stardom.
A closer look, however, divulges to us that Carlin’s genius transcended mere political labels; in fact, he outwardly rejected the ‘liberal’ label.
Naturally, he rejected the conservative label too. It was quite unmistakable that Carlin viewed conservative christian orthodoxy and crony capitalism (the banking industry/big business) as the fulcrum upon which much of his comedic lambasting turned.
What Carlin brought to the table for many young fans, who were politically minded individuals, was the idea that you didn’t have to fall in line with liberal or conservative paradigms; you could be a freethinker and challenge the bullshit that all sides of the political spectrum were spewing.
This is what made Carlin a comedic genius; he told the truth and called bullshit wherever he saw it, and he did so in a convincing and intelligent manner.
On top of that, he was fearless in his approach to comedy and famously said “the duty of the comedian is to establish where the line is drawn, and cross it deliberately.”
Sometimes you had to wonder, though, if George was even trying to be funny or if he was just unleashing a diatribe onto the world and it just happened to be funny because it was true.
Either way, Carlin was a genius, and people from all walks of life were able to appreciate his passion and energy even if, at times, they didn’t agree with what he was saying.
Rest in Peace Mr. Carlin, you’ll always be remembered.