Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin

The first thing I read this morning was the news about George Carlin, who, for as long as I can remember, was my favorite comic. And not just because he was in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure -- one of my favorite movies -- but because he was, at heart, a grammarian. He is one of the first people who got me thinking about words -- sometimes the dirty ones -- in a deeper way.

Here's a story: In 11th grade, some friends and I made a movie. It started out as a bunch of planned out sketches, but eventually broke down into us roaming around the halls, videotaping whatever amused us at the time. And in a tribute to Heathers, we decided to take lunchtime polls. This was right after I discovered George Carlin. So my contribution to the poll questions was first to steal "Why do you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?" and later, continuing down the linguistic path, to open to random pages of the dictionary and to ask people to come up with definitions of the more unusual words.


3 comments:

Justin S. said...

George Carlin was probably my second favorite stand-up next to Steven Wright. Like you, it's because he was a grammarian. Also because of the way he challenged the establishment.

dara said...

To me, the way George Carlin "challenged the establishment" as you say was part and parcel of the same thing that caused him to be a grammarian: He challenged everyone to think about why things are the way they are -- whether it's words or policies or whatever. He was smart -- and clever.

I like Steven Wright too -- I went to his show with you (which was hilarious). He's another one that's a virtuoso with language.

restaurantrefugee said...

Carlin was truly a comedic giant. Well said.