GEORGE CARLIN Biography - Writers


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George Carlin (born May 12, 1937) is an Irish American ("I used to be Irish Catholic, now I’m an American. You grow.") stand-up comedian, actor, and author, noted especially for his irreverent attitude and his observations on language and religion.




At age 17, Carlin dropped out of high school and joined the United States Air Force, training as a radar technician. He was stationed in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he began working as a disc jockey on a local radio station. He did not complete his Air Force enlistment.


At the age of 18, he and Jack Burns , a new announcer at the station, assembled a comedy routine and began booking nightclubs. Soon the act broke up. Carlin continued to work as a stand-up comic.


In the 1960s, Carlin began appearing on television variety shows, notably Laugh In. His more famous skits were:
Indian war parties ("You wit’ the beads…get outta line"),
Stupid disc jockeys ("Wonderful WINO…")
Al Sleet, the “hippie-dippie weatherman.”
Jon Carson - the “world never known, and never to be known”


In 1961, Carlin married Brenda Hosbrook, who he had met while touring the previous year. The couple had a daughter, Kelly, in 1963.


During this period, Carlin became more popular. He was cast on Away We Go, a 1967 comedy show. Carlin changed his routines, and his appearance. He lost some TV bookings by dressing as a hippie, with beard and earrings, but regained his popularity as members of the public caught up to his sense of style. It is not clear that Carlin has ever lost his hippie sensibilities as he retains his beard and ponytail to this day.


In this period he also perfected what is perhaps his best-known routine, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” recorded on Class Clown. This routine offended some. In 1973, a father complained to the FCC that his son had heard a later, similar routine, “Filthy Words,” from Occupation: Foole, broadcast one afternoon over WBAI, a Pacifica Foundation FM radio station in New York City. Pacifica received a citation from the FCC, which sought to fine Pacifica for allegedly violating FCC regulations which prohibited broadcasting “obscene” material. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the FCC action, by a vote of 5 to 4, ruling that the routine was “indecent but not obscene,” and the FCC had authority to prohibit such broadcasts during hours when children were likely to be among the audience. FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978). The controversy only increased Carlin’s fame (or notoriety). Carlin eventually expanded the dirty-words theme with a seemingly interminable end to a performance (ending with his voice fading out in the HBO version), and a set of 49 web pages organized by subject and embracing his “Incomplete List Of Impolite Words.” Ironically, the court documents contain a complete transcript of the skit, proving what Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said: “you cannot define obscenity without being obscene".[1]


In December 2003, California Representative Doug Ose introduced a bill (H.R. 3687) to outlaw the broadcast of Carlin’s seven “dirty words,” including “compound use (including hyphenated compounds) of such words and phrases with each other or with other words or phrases, and other grammatical forms of such words and phrases (including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms).” (The bill omits “tits,” and includes “ass” and “asshole” which were not part of Carlin’s original routine).


Carlin was also arrested in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and charged with violating obscenity laws. He was the first-ever host of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, debuting on October 11, 1975. He also hosted SNL on November 10, 1984.


In the 1970s, Carlin became known for unpredictable performances. He would walk off if no one laughed, verbally insult the audience, or simply not appear.


Carlin unexpectedly stopped performing in 1976 when his career appeared to be at its height. For the next five years, he would rarely appear and performed no stand-up. It would later be revealed that Carlin had suffered a heart attack.


In the 1980s Carlin reformed. By 1989 Carlin became popular with teens when he was cast as a mentor, Rufus in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.


Carlin began a weekly sitcom, The George Carlin Show, cast as “George” a cab driver, for the Fox Network in 1993. He quickly included a variation of the “Seven Words” in the plot.


In 1997, Brenda Carlin died. George Carlin did not work for a year following the death of his wife.


In 1999, Carlin returned with an appearance in Kevin Smith’s film Dogma (movie). He worked with Smith again with a cameo appearance in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and a larger role in Jersey Girl.


Carlin performs regularly as a headliner in Las Vegas.




As a staunch atheist, Carlin has often denounced the idea of a god in interviews and performances. In mockery he invented a fake religion called “Frisbeetarianism” for a newspaper contest. He defined it as the belief that when one dies “his soul gets flung onto a roof, and just stays there,” and can’t be retrieved.


Carlin has also said he might worship the Sun (he can see it) or pray to Joe Pesci because “he looks like a guy who can get things done!”


James Sherman , the Chicago playwright, revived the joke of this mock religion in his 2002 play “Old Man’s Friend” as some comic relief in the context of a daughter reconciling with her father when the doctor diagnoses her dad as having cancer and gives him six months to live.




Jersey Girl (2004)
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
Dogma (1999)
Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Outrageous Fortune (1987)
Americathon 1998 (1979)
Car Wash (1976)
With Six You Get Eggroll (1968)




When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? (2004) ISBN 1401301347
Napalm and Silly Putty (2002) ISBN 0786887583
Brain Droppings (1997) ISBN 0786883219




Shining Time Station (as “Mr. Conductor") (1991-93) PBS
Numerous specials for Home Box Office
Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends (as American Narrator) (1991-98)