George Carlin is arguably one of the most influential comedians of all time. From his profanity-laced video specials, audio specials, and novels to his interviews and direct political statements, few comedians have reached the level of social criticism and media pervasiveness as Mr. “7 Dirty Words.”
With 14 HBO specials under his belt and a sphere of influence that has affected just about all modern comedians, it’s hard to pin down his best work. But today, we’re going to attempt to do just that. These are our Top 9 Best George Carlin Bits.
Though seen by most as extremely abrasive, Carlin has always had a certain poignancy about him, but never was it as clear as it was in the Death portion of his special It’s Bad For Ya. Though not as hilariously macabre as his fatality observations in Life Is Worth Losing, it’s every bit as satirical and, with Carlin’s death occurring soon after the special’s recording, incredibly poignant.
With lines about the language and faux-sympathy that revolves around death, Carlin skewers just about everyone on one of the saddest subjects imaginable. And, in classic Carlin fashion, he never makes it feel too somber by keeping the conversation intellectual rather than emotional.
Carlin has always been a staunch observer of language, but Soft Language from Doin’ It Again is one of his most effective bits on the subject. Focused on how language has gradually become weaker and more timid, the bit is a scathing look at how American language and terminology, with Carlin holding nothing back.
From the progression of the term “Battle Fatigue” into “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” to the the phrase “I’m Fifty Years Old” turning into “I’m Fifty Years Young,” Carlin is not only hilarious, but he skewers the modern progression of language in a way only he can.
Carlin covered a lot of deep issues in his stand-up. Politics, religion, and many more were constantly skewered by him. However, he always made sure to break the serious topics up by talking about things that everyone can relate to.
One of the best examples of that can be seen in his Losing Things bit from Playin’ With Your Head. Using items we can all relate to from wallets to pets, Carlin conjures roaring laughter with the simple jokes and brilliant delivery in this one.
Asshole, Jackoff, Scumbag
For his CDs, Carlin would occasionally create bits that were less like a stand-up routine and more like a radio skit. And boy were they hilarious. Sadly, while they all still exist, most of them aren’t very well remembered. At least one, however, definitely stands the test of time.
Asshole, Jackoff, Scumbag, off Carlin’s album A Place For My Stuff!, gives listeners a peek into America’s favorite gameshow, which pits two contestants against each other to see who can figure out if the subject in question is either an asshole, jackoff, or scumbag. The best thing about it though, aside from the hilarious laughs, is that the logic behind it means you can play along like on a proper game show, which only makes it that much funnier.
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