Irreverent stand-up comedian George Dennis Carlin (1937-2008) was born on this day in the Bronx, New York. He joined the Air Force while still a teen.
"I quit school in ninth grade. So everything I've learned, I've learned by watching things and listening and reading," he said.
With a love for language, he became a radio disc jockey, then discovered comedy, using the genre to critique society. In 1965, with suit and tie, he made his first solo television appearance on the Merv Griffin Show.
"If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?" asked Carlin in one of his thought-provoking routines.
The hard-working comic continued to tour and performed in Las Vegas just before his death. He released 22 albums and three best-selling books. In 2008, he logged in his 14th HBO special.
"Comedy is a socially acceptable form of hostility and aggression. That is what comics do, stand the world upside down," said the master of satire. In the spirit of Lenny Bruce, Carlin's performances were known for their unpredictability.
"Some people think of the glass as half full. Some people think of the glass as half empty. I think of the glass as too big," he said.
The first host of Saturday Night Live in 1975, Carlin challenged the FCC by pushing the boundaries of free speech with Seven Words You Can't Use On Television. The 12-minute monologue featured two female body parts, two bathroom functions, a synonym for sex, and a pair of rude nouns.
When the routine was deemed indecent by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978, Carlin said, "So my name is a footnote in American history, which I'm perversely kind of proud of."
"The day after tomorrow is the third day of the rest of your life," said Carlin whose popular and clever Baseball vs. Football and Dogs and Cats routines remained hilarious through the years.
In a touching tribute to his wife, Brenda, in 2003, he said, "Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind."
More CARLIN Quotations
Don't sweat it.