Monday, June 23, 2008

RIP, George Carlin

One of my favorite comedians growing up has passed away. Along with Richard Pryor, George Carlin was one of the top comics of his age and still continued doing his standup act up until last weekend.
George Carlin, the acid-tongued, counterculture comedian famed for his stinging routines about drugs and filthy words, died of heart failure last night, his spokesman said.

He was 71.

The New York-born Carlin, who had a history of heart problems, died at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., at about 9 p.m. (EDT).

He had been admitted in the afternoon for chest pains, said his spokesman, Jeff Abraham.

Known for his edgy, provocative material, Carlin achieved epic status as an anti-establishment icon in the 1970s with stand-up bits filled with drug references and a routine about seven dirty words you could not say on television.

A regulatory battle over a radio broadcast of the routine ultimately reached the US Supreme Court.

In the 1978 case, Federal Communications Commission vs. Pacifica Foundation, the top court ruled 5-4 that the words cited in Carlin's routine were indecent, and that the government's broadcast regulator could ban them from being aired at times when children might be listening.

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