George Carlin

George Carlin

Date of birth: 12-05-1937
George Carlin was born and raised in New York.,dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Air Force as a radar technician, during which time he started working as a radio disc jockey, off base.

He began his comedy career in in the late Fifties, with a conventional act that revolved around wordplay and reminiscences of his working-class upbringing in New York. He teamed up with Jack Burns, and played the conservative nightclub circuit for a couple of years

But in 1962 Carlin saw Lenny Bruce get arrested for a drug joke in Chicago. The encounter made an impact on Carlin. Toward the end of the decade, he grew his hair, ditched his suits and worked on a harder-hitting, more honest routine with references to drugs and sex.

There was a backlash from the lucrative nightclub circuit he had been working, and bookings dried up.

But he quickly found new fans in among youngsters, and started play colleges and ‘counterculture’ coffee houses, which allowed him to rebuild his career. His second album, FM & AM, released in 1972, had older material on the AM side with bolder, routines on the FM side.

He later said: ‘I was doing superficial comedy entertaining people who didn’t really care: Businessmen, people in nightclubs, conservative people. And I had been doing that for the better part of ten years when it finally dawned on me that I was in the wrong place doing the wrong things for the wrong people.’

In 1972, he also recorded the routine for which he became most famous – the controversial Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television He was arrested for obscenity for performing it in 1972, On July 21, 1972, at Milwaukee's Summerfest, but the case was dismissed.

Its later airing on a New York radio station in the middle of the afternoon led to a groundbreaking US Supreme Court case in 1978, which led to a nationwide 10pm watershed for indecent material. Of the case, Carlin said: ‘My name is a footnote in American legal history, which I'm perversely kind of proud of.’

Carlin was the first ever host of Saturday Night Live, in 1975, and over his long career recorded 23 albums of stand-up, 14 HBO specials and made 130 appearances on The Tonight Show, as well as writing three books of humorous observations.

Drug addiction, particularly cocaine, plagued him for much of his life; and in the Eighties, Carlin survived a heart attack, two open-heart surgeries and serious tax problems.

In the Nineties he branched into acting, appearing in the Barbra Streisand movie Prince of Tides, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and Dogma. He even provided the voiceover for Thomas The Tank Engine in the US.

In 2004, Comedy Central named him the second best stand-up comedian of all time, behind Richard Pryor. But at the end of the year he had to take two months off touring to go into rehab for his addictions to Vicodin and red wine.

And in 2008 it was announced that he would be awarded t the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, but he died the week after it the news broke, of heart failure. He had been working just a week before his death, at the age of 71.

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Huge George Carlin archive to be released

Ten-disc set includes rare performance footage

A mammoth collection of George Carlin material is to be released next month to mark the tenth anniversary of his death.

The George Carlin Commemorative Collection features all 14 of his HBO specials, from 1997’s On Location to 2008’s It’s Bad For Ya.

The ten-disc box set also includes more than five hours of previously unreleased bonus material including rare performance footage from his personal archive.

George Carlin’s daughter, Kelly, who helped compile the collection, said: ‘While digging around in dad’s stuff, we found a few gems that we just couldn’t keep for ourselves. It’s amazing to think that ten years after his death, we keep finding stuff I’d never seen before.’

That bonus material includes:Carlin

  • Carlin’s first stand-up special from 1973, The Real George Carlin, which has not been seen since it first aired. 
  • APT 2C, a never-aired HBO pilot from the 1980s
  • Previously unreleased material from the 1960s, when Carlin was a clean-cut guest on the likes of The Jackie Gleason Show and Hollywood Palace.
  • I Kinda Like It When A Lotta People Die, a posthumous album that included a home recording made in 1957 and a special taped in Las Vegas in September 2001 that was shelved due to the September 11 attacks.

The George Carlin Commemorative Collection will be released in the US on June 12 with a list price of $100, although it is not yet available from UK-based websites.

 Carlin died at the age of 71 on June 22, 2008.

The full contents of the new collection are:

Disc 1: On Location With George Carlin and  George Carlin Again!

Disc 2: Carlin at Carnegie; Carlin On Campus and  Playin’ With Your Head

Disc 3: What Am I Doing In New Jersey?;  Doin’ It Again; Jammin’ In New York

Disc 4: Back In Town; George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy; You Are All Diseased

Disc 5: Complaints & Grievances; Life Is Worth Losing; It’s Bad for Ya

Disc 6: Bonus George Carlin appearances from Playboy Penthouse (1961); CBS Talent Scouts (1973); The Hollywood Palace (1966); The Jackie Gleason Show (1969); The Real George Carlin; Apt 2C; George Carlin Personal Favorites

Disc 7: George Carlin Appearance from The Comedy Store (1999); George’s Best Stuff

Disc 8: George On George; George Carlin Appearance from Comedy Magic Club (2006); George Carlin: Too Hip for the Room

Disc 9: I Kinda Like it When a Lotta People Die CD

Disc 10: Blu-Ray versions of Life Is Worth Losing; It’s Bad for Ya Blu-Ray

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Published: 15 May 2018

Carlin in rehab

Veteran American stand-up George Carlin has checked…
28/12/2004

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