America honours Carlin

Posthumous award for George

George Carlin was posthumously honoured with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor last night.

Among those paying tribute at the ceremony in Washington were Jon Stewart, Lily Tomlin, Joan Rivers, Dennis Leary and Garry Shandling.

Carlin learned that he had been awarded the honour just before he died of heart failure in June at the age of 71.

‘He was thrilled,’ Carlin's daughter Kelly Carlin McCall told reporters. ‘I think he represented a lot of what Mark Twain did for our country, not only being smart and funny but also being a sharp commentator.’

Many of the comics praised Carlin for pushing the boundaries of free speech. But in a final irony, the Kennedy Center that awarded the prize bleeped out much of the offending language when they showed his classic Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television stand-up clip.

A small group of protesters from the Christian right had gathered outside the venue, holding signs saying ‘Carlin's Going to Hell’ – the message spread by God Hates Fags preacher Fred Phelps

Previous winners of the Mark Twain award have included Richard Pryor, Billy Crystal and Steve Martin.

Published: 11 Nov 2008

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.