RIP George Carlin

As you’ve surely heard by now, comedian George Carlin passed away early this morning at the age of 71. I’m no historian of the genre, but it seemed to me, as someone who’s always enjoyed artful stand-up, that Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Andy Kaufman, Bill Cosby, and Steven Wright were operating on a different, superior plane than everyone else in that business.

Some were put off by the scatological nature of his act, but his indulgences were with purpose (as opposed to say, Andrew Clay, who used as crudeness to disguise a routine that was utterly devoid of humor)–to test boundaries and to afflict the guardians of propriety.

Carlin had pretty clearly lost his touch in his later years, but in this space he’ll always be remembered as an artist of distinction.

What does this have to do with politics and sports? Well, politics was always central to Carlin’s act, and his baseball-football bit endures as a classic.

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