Until March 2016, fans of George Carlin will have the opportunity to visit the Grammy Museum and check out impressive memorabilia of the man who exemplified stand-up comedy.
Carlin, who passed away in 2008, was an original rebel, never bowing to the censorship-laden political correctness of his day. He insisted—and gained legions of followers as a result—by challenging issues within politics, psychology, and sociology. Free speech for Carlin, and thus the freedom to say as one wishes without the intent to harm, was a cause that he brilliantly defended.
His “seven dirty words” comedy routine in the late 1970s (words that were banned on the airwaves) became a political juggernaut before eventually losing steam once the supreme court ruling came down against the words. Nonetheless, an original copy of the article from 1978 detailing this can be viewed at the exhibit.
To understand the man that he became, however, it is important to make note of Carlin as a young boy growing up in New York. Many of his possessions on display, including family photographs, his scrap book as a child, and a letter from his mother to him show us that, while his beginnings were nearly like any other, there was something exceptional that caused him to see the world in his own unique way.
He undoubtedly had an issue with authority, having been court-martialed three times during his stay in the United States Air Force. Certainly, he needed an outlet to express his opinions, which came to him via a chance meeting with a DJ in Texas that preceded a memorable career.
He took his job seriously, too, always preparing notes even before run-of-the-mill appearances on talk shows like with David Letterman. He meticulously wrote out his comedy routines as well, making sure to always do something different for audiences. Examples of both can be seen at the exhibit.
As outspoken as he was, though, he respected dissenting opinions just the same. Or it could be that he didn’t take life too seriously after all since he kept many of the letters sent to him from offended television viewers (also on display).
The exhibit is highly recommended.
For more information, visit http://bit.ly/1Jhujs8
Photos courtesy the Grammy Museum
Photo top right: Kelly Carlin (George Carlin’s daughter) at exhibit
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