Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin Passes Away

Comedic genius George Carlin passed away Sunday in Los Angeles. The 71-year old Carlin was best known for his routine, Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television.

When Carlin uttered all seven at a show in Milwaukee in 1972, he was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace, freed on $150 bail and exonerated when a Wisconsin judge dismissed the case, saying it was indecent but citing free speech and the lack of any disturbance. When the words were later played on a New York radio station, they resulted in a 1978 Supreme Court ruling upholding the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language during hours when children might be listening.

Despite his reputation as unapologetically irreverent, Carlin was a television staple through the decades, serving as host of the Saturday Night Live debut in 1975, noting on his Web site that he was "loaded on cocaine all week long," and appearing over 130 times on The Tonight Show. He won four Grammy Awards, each for best spoken comedy album, and was nominated for five Emmy awards.

This past Tuesday, it was announced that Carlin was being awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which will be presented November 10 in Washington and broadcast on PBS.