Carlin was inspirational to me, in some ways, as a teen. He had a biting wit and was more a social commentator than comedian. I saw him live a couple of times – once at the University of Maine where he autographed a dollar bill for me. The fact that it took me several months to spend that money was as much about my respect for him as my flat-broke-ness.
One of my favorite Carlin rants is here – Carlin on Politicians – and I’ll miss that penetrating side of him. He could make us laugh so hard that our guts hurt, and not always because what he said was funny, exactly – but because it was so sadly true. In his later years, I was sad to see him move more toward aimless anger and jokes about death and poop, but I suppose that’s how things go.
He died at Saint John’s in Santa Monica – just a mile or two from my place – at the age of 71.