Talk about a lousy way to begin the week, as I awoke to the news that George Carlin died last night, at the age of 71. NPR's Fresh Air has a great interview with him from several years back, that I highly recommend listening to.
I don't generally like surprises, but last July my wife treated me to a wonderful surprise for my birthday: we saw Carlin live at the South Shore Music Circus. I am a huge Carlin fan; his brilliant skewering of the everyday hypocrisy of the human race never failed to bring a laugh to my lips.
And I liked the show, too...he had two halves, the first was material that was slightly older, but still pretty recent...let's say the past two or three years. It was stuff he'd refined into really funny material. The word "guffawing" comes to mind.
The second half was, in a sense, a fascinating look behind the curtain. He announced at the beginning that it was new material, and thus it wasn't all that polished yet, and that some stuff he was trying out for the first time that night. Perhaps he says that at every show, but it was a nice touch regardless. Anyways, true to form, the material was a little rough, and not everything was really funny...or at least wasn't up to the standard of "George Carlin funny", but it was always interesting and that alone was worth it.
At the time I felt vaguely honored to have seen a man of his skill, creativity and work ethic, in person and only 50ft away from me. Now I feel even more so. Rest easy, George...ya did us all real good. We'll miss you.