Tuesday, July 15, 2008

George Carlin

“I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.”

George Carlin, an influential and very talented comedian, died on Sunday, June 22. Being a baby boomer myself, I grew up listening to Carlin who I felt was the spokesman for our time, or who at least spoke directly to my generation. Besides being a terrific stand-up comedian, Carlin delved into films in the 60’s. His first film was With Six You Get Eggroll (George with Doris Day and Brian Keith! Not what I’d expect!). His second, Car Wash, is more the kind of film in which I would expect to see Carlin. Moving on in his career, he appeared as Rufus in the Bill and Ted movies: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. Some might think those movies are too silly to be good even if they did introduce us to Keanu Reeves, but I personally love them. They are so joyful and innocent it’s hard not to enjoy them. In the 80’s Carlin became the narrator for the Thomas the Tank Engine TV series. Never having watched this series I can’t comment. In 1999 he hooked up with director Kevin Smith and appeared in 3 of his films: Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Jersey Girl. Being a fan of Kevin Smith (I particularly loved his Chasing Amy) I enjoyed all three of these films. Jersey Girl was not beloved by the critics but I found it to be very sweet. I always wondered if it was dismissed because it came out at the height of the Ben and Jen romance. Jen’s character died early in the movie though and was replaced as a romantic interest by a funny and refreshing Liv Tyler. Carlin was the funny and loveable grandfather. I enjoyed the film—there are very few really successful romantic comedies and for me this one worked. When I think about George Carlin I remember him as a funny but astute critic of our time; a wise man with words of wisdom which deserve to be remembered. One of his quotes “Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck,” makes me wonder if he was a frisbeetarianist and if his soul is indeed stuck up on a roof somewhere. I would welcome his soul to be stuck on my roof.

No comments: