George Carlin, 1937-2008

By Sean Carroll | June 23, 2008 12:54 am

George Carlin passed away Sunday afternoon.

There’s a place for respectful, good-faith argumentation between people who respectfully disagree — but some good old-fashioned mockery is occasionally called for, as well.

He told it like he saw it, that’s for sure.

  • Brian Mingus

    I just prayed to Joe Pesci to bring Carlin back.

    What a funny SOB!

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  • edie166

    George was always a breath of fresh air…he kept us all in line and showed us the bullshit and hypocracy that was out there. My condolances to his wife and family…he’ll be greatly missed. He had that edge and yet…the compassionate soul that he really was kept shining thru all of the comic sarcasm. I loved George Carlin….come back to us somehow…this world really needs someone to follow in his giant footsteps…to keep us human.

  • Jerry Bridges

    A not so funny day. Sad and goes to show that we’re all here for ‘just a minute ago’ — His unique humor and look on life goes on forever. RIP, sir., you were one of the greats!

  • Mark

    He was one of my absolute favorites. A great comedian, a great human, a great friend of reason, of authenticity, and of telling it like it is. His passion for fighting nonsense never dimmed with age.

    George – you didn’t give a shit what others thought, took the piss out of everyone, would rather fuck than kill, and wouldn’t be told you couldn’t say “cunt“. I wish you hadn’t gone tits-up – more than ever we need funny motherfuckers like you to help us beat back all these cocksuckers. You’ll be missed!

  • Dave

    Tonight I go for five 2’s, George, thank you for my perspective on life!

  • Kurt

    George Carlin was not just a comedian, he was also a philosopher. This is a sad loss.

  • Brian Mingus

    I love this image of him..iconoclast.

  • John R Ramsden

    Mods! Quick, over here! There’s someone using coarse language! (#5).

    Oh wait, um, naver mind..

    Seriously, although I’d never heard of the guy, it’s bad news when a good comedian one has known and, in a way, loved pops off. The younger ones rarely seem as good, but perhaps they are to a new generation.

  • Lawrence B. Crowell

    I’ll have to listen to my Carlin recordings, and of course the dvd of “Dogma,” where Carlin plays the Bishop plugging the “Buddy Jesus.”

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  • Jeff Adkins

    Mr. Carlin,

    Thank you, thank you, and again thank you! As with Lenny Bruce your words inspired so many including myself to say and think FUCK the establishment …our right as free thinking members of this F’d up species. Your consistent individualistic thinking and expressions were a key part of the counter culture movement. And if people did not understand your stream of thoughts, conscience, and spoken word…fuck them, they are idiots !

    May the inhabitants of heaven (or whatever is next) with true enlightenment welcome you and get the HELL OUT OF YOUR WAY !!!

    I cannot wait to sit down one day and talk with you. Until then I’m stuck here surrounded by assholes. I am sure you know what I mean.

    My thoughts are with you and all those who love and adore you.

    Sincerely and Respectfully,

    Jeff Adkins

  • Neil B.

    Yeah, I thought George was funny and he was clearly a smart man too. It’s a loss of a clever talent. George often made fun of Catholic education, and I remember him bringing up the old Medieval saw, “Hey Father, can God create a stone so heavy that even he can’t lift it?” Hmmm … As you guys know all too well, I am the expert on theo-logic ;-)>, so here is how God does it: being an omnipotent being, he can turn himself into a mouse without all of God’s former powers. Then he makes a modest size stone which he can’t lift. So there!

  • drunk

    George Carlin, you’re no bullshit!!
    George Carlin, you did the RCC some good by screwing them for a change.
    George Carlin, you’re a pretty good comedian.
    But, George Carlin, you’re one giant human being.

    R.I.(no bullshit)P.

  • Haelfix

    One of my fav stand up comedians. He’ll be missed

  • Ijon Tichy

    You can’t make fun of people who believe in fairies. Everyone (well everyone that counts) thinks fairy belief is ridiculous. If I was an American citizen (phew!) I’d look forward to the day when you couldn’t make fun of religion any more. Because then you’d know it was dead. Till then, people like Carlin will chip away at the edifice.

  • doG ma

    One day the world may understand how hard you tried to save them from themselves? If not, it will be only because human beings no longer exist! LoveYa George and You Will Be Missed More Than You Will Know…

  • Tom

    George was one of my all time favorite comedians. It is sad to see him leave. He WILL be missed.
    And even though I was one of those church going robots when I listened to him, and was often offended, he still made me laugh and question, where few others could.
    In the end, I have ditched religion, but hang on to faith.

    Thank you George.

  • Tyler

    in addition to being hilarious he was the finest and most insightful critic of the use of language to manipulate opinion and perception that I know of – like Noam Chomsky channeling Lenny Bruce (or Richard Pryor for ppl of my generation). His riff on the linguistic progression over time from “shell shock” through “battle fatigue” up to today’s “post traumatic stress disorder” is as fine a piece of socio-linguistic criticism as you can find in any milieu, and unlike academic criticism it’s also direct, gut-wrenchingly funny and sad (as opposed to pompous, tedious and obscure).

    He was a great force in the fight for mental liberation, and according to those who knew him post-cocaine, he was also a kind and decent fellow. I already miss him.

  • none-of-the-above

    Carlin was the Jonathan Swift of our generation. Like Swift his humour was firmly grounded on an underlying bedrock of moral outrage. But there was a gentle sweetness to him that belied his feigned misanthropy [fond memories of his “hippy-dippy weatherman”]. A clear, fearless, and funny advocate for the truth, he will be missed.

    Rest in peace, man!.

  • will

    The ability to make me think as hard as I laugh is more than just entertainment. He actually made me feel more human by appealing to so many of my mind’s faculties. I hope that others with such talents are also inspired. If not his death really will be a loss.

    George, if I know you as well as I think I do we will never meet in the after life becasue there isn’t one in the first place, but thanks for everything.

  • cynic

    Not being American, I only know of George through his role in the Bill and Ted saga. Nonetheless he created a real impression. Who can do more than ‘Be excellent (to each other)’ and ‘Party On’. A top dude by all accounts – a pity that I’ve only found out about his wider oeuvre now that he’s gone,

  • Lee

    George was the first comic that really shined on stage. His ideas and his takes on life infuence me still today. I wish I could have met him in person. I know we would have been good friends.
    George, May your place in heaven be a big bright light shining on you for everyone to see. And I know the Almighty will laugh at your jokes.
    God Bless

  • Barak A. Pearlmutter

    George Carlin didn’t “pass away.”


  • Jason Grossman

    Barak: that’s very funny (and right).

  • terri

    Nobody is going to be able to replace George. I am still majorly bummed that he is gone and I’ll no longer get to listen to his brilliance

  • True_Q

    Great comic
    Even here, in Poland we’ve heard of him and watched his great sketches.
    Farewell Mr. Carlin, C U Nowhere!


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About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] .


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