Last May, my girlfriend completely surprised me with tickets to George Carlin’s appearance in Victoria. He was preparing the material that eventually became his last HBO special. He occasionally had to check his notes during the performance. Nothing from the routine sticks in my mind, nothing like the golf bit from Jammin’ in New York or the flying bit from … Jammin’ in New York. But, still.
It was Carlin. Live. And I was there.
I got into Carlin in the mid-90s, right near the end of puberty, right when I started thinking for myself. Carlin had a big influence on my opinions of the "big" issues like God and such at the time. And they haven’t changed very much since then.
In this decade, he’s become just a little too misanthropic so his last few CDs were hit and miss, but not back then; back then, he was angry, observant and funny. There’s this underlying frustration with the way things are that’s at the source of his work, except for the fart jokes.
Here’s my favourite piece from Brain Droppings, his first book:
If a picture is worth ten thousand words, then one twenty-five-hundredth of a picture should be worth four words.
And if Helen of Troy had the face that launched a thousand ships, and a picture is worth ten thousand words, doesn’t that mean one picture of Helen’s face should be worth ten million ships?
And, if the night has a thousand eyes, and getting there is half the fun, that means to have fun getting there at night would require five hundred eyes.
And, if getting there is half the fun, and half a loaf is better than none, would getting halfway there with a whole load be more or less fun?
And if half a loaf is better than none, the night has a thousand eyes, a picture is worth ten thousand words, getting there is half the fun, and Helen of Troy had the face that launched a thousand ships, then in a picture taken at night from a ship that is halfway there, how much fun would Helen be having is she were holding a full loaf? And could you see it in her eyes?