George Carlin, Actor And Comedian, 71
It was winter 1992 and I had just stoked the wood stove in my Rye, N.H., childhood home. As usual, I was up late watching TV on a school night.
Endless channel surfing ceased when I happened upon the HBO special Jammin' in New York. George Carlin was eloquently making the case that the land on which golf courses and cemeteries sit should be used for building houses for the homeless. He made the point that golf was an elitist pointless sport that uses up far too much room in this country and that if we want to be serious about recycling we should be using the dead as fertilizer.
It was thought-provoking and extremely provocative thinking that I had never heard before or since, and I became hooked on his comedy immediately. I was a freshman in high school and had finally come across an adult who made sense! His delivery had me in tears with laughter so loud that my father had to come downstairs to make sure I was all right.
George Carlin was the best thinker I have ever heard, and his influence on my own thinking is more profound than that of any rabbi, author, musician, mentor or family member I've had in my life. And that's saying a lot. Thanks for the laughter, George. I will miss you.
Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.