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Best George Carlin valedict out there

Until today I had been surprised that no one rose to the occasion more effectively—Jerry Seinfeld's piece in the NYT, for example, felt phoned-in. But Louis C.K.'s tribute is convincing and moving, the more so because it comes from a legit road warrior who has kept his live act at an extremely high level for many years.


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People can get a little carried away with this. Carlin did some neat things, but never actually invented any of them. After a few decades, it all seemed to be about sarcastic teenage bitterness and little more. After about 1972, that act didn't change in any meaningful way... Nobody remembers a great burst of excellence during Reagan's first term, or a slow period during Clinton's... It was a rote act. It was surprising to read in the bios that his drug problems and audience-mocking rants continued sporadically in very recent years. (This after Vegas had helped him dig his way out of tax depts.) In the '82 Playboy interview he said “I think Pryor is without peer.” It was great to see him acknowledge this. Pryor put an element of humility into the best moments of his act, acknowledging that it wasn't just the outside world that was evil and sneaky, but the nature of his own heart as well, even in the biggest matters. That connection meant that I never regretted the full ticket prices for Brewster's Millions and Wholly Moses, even if I walked out after 15 minutes of each. *That's* what made him subversive. Carlin apparently never got to that point...

Crid [cridcridatgmail]:

Bonus point: Ever remember Carlin smiling?... Not putting on a face that says "This is what people look like when they're happy,"but truly giving a glimpse of glee? Ever? Me neither.

You could probably say the same of Pryor, but then you'd remember the eyes....


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