My Very True George Carlin Story
"Welcome to the ..." Bwaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaa waaaaaaaah!
My favorite comedian died today.
Loki must be doing backflips for joy. Seriously, can't you just picture George Carlin entertaining the entire Heathen pantheon? They're probably giving him some kind of golden horn or something even as we speak.
It happens that I had the good fortune to see George Carlin perform live, twice, in a small restored vaudeville theater near my hometown.
I don't know how other comedians learn their routines, but Carlin liked to practice his before live audiences. So when he had an HBO special lined up, he would tour around these small theaters, charge a reasonable ticket fee, and rehearse in front of a crowd.
The first time I saw George at the Maryland Theater, it must have been 1998 or even earlier, because my parents were still alive and still living at home.
Now you have to imagine George Carlin doing his thing in a small theater in Appalachia. The male audience members in particular were just stoked to the max. Couldn't wait to see the guy.
I went by myself and found myself seated with some good ol' boys, and in minutes we were carrying on as if we'd always known and loved each other. This is what we had in common: We thought George Carlin was the fuckin' bomb.
Just before the show was scheduled to start, two well-dressed couples came in and sat in front of my row. The women had their hair all done up, and (pinky swear) the dudes were wearing ties.
Carlin always toured with a really funny younger guy, a warmer-upper whose name I can't even remember. And that's a shame, because that guy was funny as hell too.
Anyway, the warmup was over, and out comes Carlin, all in black. The rednecks went nuts.
Carlin says to the audience: "How you doin' tonight?"
And he said, "Well, fuck you."
And then he launched. Need I say it was classic Carlin, which always took aim, using extreme cussing, at everything that needed to be shot down in our culture. I remember that he did an extended run of "Goddamn it, I get so pissed off" selections that night.
What was interesting to me, in addition to Carlin, was the reaction of the well-dressed couples in front of me. First they stiffened. Then they started whispering to one another. Then they got up and left.
As they were leaving, I heard the one woman say to the other one, "I can't believe that's Mr. Conductor!"
The guys I was sitting with heard her too, and we all just about fell out of our seats.
I don't have to tag this "navel gazing," because I will never forget that moment, no matter how senile I become next month.
On the other hand, it might make a good "moron" tag.