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Raging Pencils by Mike "motherfucker" Stanfill

George Carlin: 1937-2008

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Bye, George.

George CarlinI was fortunate enough to have seen George Carlin perform live exactly twice in my not-so-short life. That's approximately two more times than 99.999% of the humans on this Earth. I am a fortunate person in this regard.


The second time I saw his act was at Fair Park Music Hall in Dallas, Texas, possibly the worst place anyone could ever hope to watch any comedian perform. The sight-lines are atrocious and the sound system was primitive, to put it charitably. All I remember of the performance is desperately trying to see the stage past the head of the guy sitting in the row ahead of me.

But the first time I saw Mr. Carlin's act was on December 9, 1979 at Will Rogers Auditorium in Fort Worth, Texas. My two brothers joined me that evening and we had seats on the second row.

I remember the date so well because it's written on the tape I made of the show. The recorder I used was an encyclopedia-sized Panasonic cassette recorder which I am, to this day, astonished they allowed past the ticket-takers as it was impossible to conceal.

It's at this point I'd like to go off on a seemingly pointless tangent about human laughter.

You see, we all have two laughs. The first is for small gatherings of two or more people. It's usually nothing more than a reserved chuckle or the occasional hearty guffaw.

And then there's the other laugh, the one we use when we know we're surrounded by a throng of those of similar tastes. It's louder and less reserved as we try hard to make ourselves heard above the collective din. Because everyone else in the immediate vicinity is making a similar sound there's rarely reason for embarrassment.

And now back to our story.

As my mouth was only inches away from the built-in microphone of the tape recorder this laugh, the second one of which I wrote, is the laugh you hear every time Mr. Carlin waxed jestful.

Really loudly.

Even for me it's rather painful to endure my ecstatic braying and it's largely the reason I've only listened to the whole tape twice since I recorded it. But this recording was the first thing I reached for when I heard that Mr. Carlin had passed on and I spent the next two hours forgetting about me and remembering George. For me, it was like it was 1979 again, and the world was still full of Carlin.


PS, this rant is dedicated to the Maxell LN C120 cassette tape, without which this wallow down Nostalgia Lane would not have been possible. 30 years and still going strong.

Censored comic.
Devil to George Carlin:
"Don't worry, George. We'll have you back to Valhalla in plenty of time for the orgy. We just thought you might like to say hello to Mr. Reagan.."