George Carlin Lives
The day after five of the nine justices on the Supreme Court, three of them nominated by Donald Trump, and approved by a Republican majority in the Senate, overturned the constitutional right to abortion, that had been the law of the land since Roe v. Wade in 1973, anger and demonstrations erupted all over the world, and a 1996 routine by George Carlin from the comedy special Back in Town went viral on social media. Watch the video here, read some of the words: “Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don’t wanna know about you. They don’t wanna hear from you. No neonatal care, no daycare, no Head Start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re pre-born, you’re fine, if you’re preschool, you’re fucked.”
This amazing comedian died in 2008 at age 71, but many of the issues he addressed and satirized for decades still resonate today.
Carlin spoke about war and homelessness in his 1990 special Doin’ It Again: “When we’re not invading some sovereign nation or setting it on fire from the air, which is more fun, we have to declare war on something here in America. We have a war on poverty, a war on crime, a war on cancer, a war on drugs. But there’s no war on homelessness. You know why? Because nobody can stand to get rich off of that problem. If you can find a solution to homelessness where the corporations and politicians can make a few million dollars each, you will see the streets of America begin to clear up pretty damn quick!”
As for saving the planet, Carlin felt that it was an arrogant idea, “the planet is fine, the people are fucked,” and we should just leave nature alone. Watch this routine from the 1992 special Jammin’. He was talking about AIDS at the time, but had some prescient comments about COVID-19: “What would you do if you were the planet trying to defend against this troublesome species? Viruses might be good, they seem vulnerable to viruses. Viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains, whenever a vaccine is developed.”
To learn more about the complicated life and career of this extraordinary artist, I recommend the 2022 documentary George Carlin’s American Dream on HBO. See in the trailer a clip of his famous 1972 routine about the seven dirty words you can never say on television: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elisa Leonelli, a photo-journalist and film critic, member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, interviews directors and movie stars, as well as artists, musicians and writers, for international and domestic publications. Formerly Film Editor of VENICE, Los Angeles Arts and Entertainment magazine, currently Los Angeles Correspondent for the Italian film monthly BEST MOVIE, author of the critical essay, "Robert Redford and the American West."