Jan. 22 (Wednesday)

Political Comedian
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Full Name: George Denis Patrick Carlin
Born: May. 12, 1937 in New York City, New York
Died: June 22, 2008 in Santa Monica, California

George Carlin was an actor and writer, but he was best known as a stand-up comedian with a reputation for black humor. Indeed, his “Seven Dirty Words” routine was central to a Supreme Court case which affirmed the government’s power to regulate indecent material on public airwaves. Carlin was also known for his witty insights on politics, psychology, religion and various taboo subjects.

Though parents were shocked at his profanity, many political buffs adored Carlin because he wasn’t afraid to tell it like it is with his take-no-prisoners routines. He even complained about the stupidity of Americans, a little risky since most of the people in his audiences were U.S. citizens.

By the mid-1990s, Carlin became a strident social critic, bashing conservatives and liberals alike. He could have been one of us, except he was more intelligent than the average American. Some of Carlin’s monologues are so witty and insightful, so accurate, it’s almost scary. His socio-cultural criticism of modern American society ought to be required reading (or listening) in public schools.

Carlin was posthumously awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, a fitting honor, as Mark Twain was a famous political humorist himself.