If there were any legitimate reason - like many of us needed a reason - to yell out the seven dirty words in a public place, it was last night upon hearing the news that George Carlin had left the room, for good, just when we needed him the most. With much of the world around us headed to Hades in a hand basket, it would seem that the current current events would be prime real estate for Carlin, who along with Richard Pryor had been the one of the pre-eminent comic sages of the past 40 years - often vulgar, always shocking, but always making us think as much as he peed our pants with laughter. A bad heart has finally ended Carlin's perpetual riff on society, culture and everything in between. But, of course, we have so much of his material to watch and remember and reflect on for the next 40 years and more. Many of us would pay good money to hear the joint routines that Carlin and Pryor are cooking up in the big comedy club in the sky. But at least we have two events in Carlin's honor to look forward to, if that is the appropriate phrase - his now posthumous presentation as the newest recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, scheduled for November at Washington's Kennedy Center; and, much sooner, whatever is going to be his public memorial service. Because when comedians die, their rites are as much roasts as anything else, and if any comic would demand that there be no tears of grief shed at his services, it would be George Carlin.
Rest in peace, motherf*****. And thanks - we needed that.