George Carlin

George Carlin

  • $17.50

"Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things." Our most contemporary genius, George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, author, and social critic. One of the most influential comedians of all time - he was dubbed, "the dean of counterculture comedians." (more below)

• 100% ringspun cotton
• Pre-shrunk
• Quarter-turned to avoid crease down the center

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Carlin was born and raised in Manhattan largely by his mother. His father left when he was just 2 months old due to alcoholism. He attended the Cardinal Hayes High School in New York, a Catholic institution until the age of 15 when he was expelled for running away from school too many times and getting into constant trouble during class. He inherited his love of language from his mother and his grandfather, who would write out in longhand, Shakespeare tragedies. He joined the airforce but was quickly labeled an “unproductive airman” by his superiors and ended up being court marshaled 3 times before his eventual discharge in 1957. During this time, however, he started a career as a radio DJ in Shreveport, La.

By 1960 he had landed in California and teamed up with Jack Burns to form the comedy duo, Burns & Carlin. Two years later they went their separate ways and Carlin started to get bookings in many clubs and eventually the Tonight Show. He ultimately became a frequent guest on the Tonight Show - first with Jack Paar and later often guest-hosted for Johnny Carson. He also made appearances on The Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffin and Jimmy Dean Shows to name a few. During this period Carlin had been doing straight forward conventional comedy - clean shaven, short haired and while wearing a suit. In 1970 he decided he had to change his image to appeal to a hipper crowd. Carlin's own indulgence in drugs especially marijuana and cocaine and being a big fan of and part of one of Lenny Bruce's arrests, naturally led him to this conclusion. Though he was making over $250,000 a year and had bought a private jet to fly him to his own gigs, he changed his career and headed into hippiedom comedy – taking a 90% cut in salary in the meantime. Eventually, however, this move would prove to be very savvy...and lucrative.

He really broke out in 1972 with his LP entitled FM & AM which was contained one side of his earlier more conventional comedy and the other side of cutting new hippie based, unconventional comedy, where he got into marijuana, birth control pills, and a playful examination of the word "shit".  That same year though he released the album “Class Clown” which exploded his career to new highs. This contained the infamous  "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" (too vile to print here!) and was banned in many cities around the US most notably in Milwaukee where he was arrested at a show there for saying the indecent words. This led to a historic Supreme Court case which concluded Carlin and his 7 words were in fact "indecent but not obscene" so the FCC had the right to not play them but they could if they wanted. This was certainly groundbreaking. In 1975 Carlin became the very first host of Saturday Night Live and is still the only SNL host to not perform in any of the sketches – by his own request. Though later, according to Carlin himself, he was so loaded up with cocaine that he hardly remembers that historic hosting event. In 1977 Carlin did his first of 14 HBO specials.

Carlin also did TV, most notably the voice of the conductor for Shining Time Station on PBS and many films including – Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Outrageous Fortune, Dogma and Pixar's, Cars. He was a standard fixture in Las Vegas and had a long contract at the MGM Grand until he was fired in 2004 when he took on the audience - Carlin complained that he could not wait to get out of "this fucking hotel" and Las Vegas; he wanted to go back east, he said, "where the real people are." He continued:

People who go to Las Vegas, you've got to question their fucking intellect to start with. Traveling hundreds and thousands of miles to essentially give your money to a large corporation is kind of fucking moronic. That's what I'm always getting here is these kind of fucking people with very limited intellects.” When an audience member shouted, "Stop degrading us!" Carlin responded "Thank you very much, whatever that was. I hope it was positive; if not, well, blow me." And that was that!

He received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2008 and his books have sold over 1 million copies to date.

Carlin died in Santa Monica, Ca., June 2008 after suffering his third heart attack. In accordance with his wishes, his body was cremated, and the ashes were scattered in front of various nightclubs he played in New York City.

A true genius if ever there was one, on many and numerous accounts.

The Seven Words - shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.

Some pearls of Carlin wit & wisdom:

"I am is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that 'I do' is the longest sentence?"

Conservatives say if you don’t give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they’ve lost all incentive because we’ve given them too much money.”

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”

Don’t just teach your children to read…teach them to question everything that they read…teach them to question everything.” 

When you are born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you are born in America, you get a front row seat.”

If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.”