George Carlin Got It

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
George Carlin got it. He realized soon after he became a successful stand up comic that the truth was really a lot funnier than the shtick that was making him popular.

"Al Sleet, The Hippie Dippy Weather Man" was funny. But, it wasn't as funny as the "The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television."

True comedians know that humor is based in grievance. And when George Carlin was coming into his own there were plenty of sacred cows in need of slaughter. American culture was on a collision course with itself. The baby boomers were turning on the very parents who spoiled them. And no one better understood the absurdity of the conventions they were railing against than Carlin.

Those conventions and the words that populated our clichés and aphorisms…were Carlin's playground. The stuff he lampooned seemed simple enough. But, he was the genius who made it so funny.
By Harry Smith


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