Monday, June 23, 2008
The Funniest Grandpa I Ever Knew
I never really knew my grandfathers. On my Italian side, my grandfather was your traditional hard worker that made sure he put food on the table for his family. He seemed like a great man, but died ten years before I was born. On my Puerto Rican side, my grandfather lived on the island, while I lived here in the states. He seemed like a fun-loving, great guy, but passed away when I was five, so I never really got to know him and my memories of him are pleasant, but limited. Where am I going with this? When I have kids and they have kids, I guess my days are numbered.
So where does an impressionable young boy go to find a grandfather-like figure? Many, many years ago our family received (by accident and illegally) HBO. Sure there were your new movies as always on Saturday nights, but on rare occasions (even rarer today) they would have stand-up comedian preform. As a young kid, I saw this mean looking man with a white beard and ponytail, dressed in all black standing alone on stage making people laugh by saying bad words. He cursed, made funny faces, acted animated, and made my brother and father laugh. Most importantly, there was some push back on my mom’s part with me watching it, so I knew I absolutely had to. I was memorized. I didn’t even know what I was laughing at most of the time, but it was never forced laughter. It was George Carlin. He could tell you about the state of the economy, question religion, present some observational ramblings, then crack a few fart jokes. That what I loved about Carlin. He was never above what makes us all laugh (even if we think we are too old for it) with the most intelligent things a mortal man would never think of or the simplest things in life that we take for granted. He challenged and pushed the boundaries of free speech, makes no apologies and made it look easy. Comedians like Carlin don’t grow old and die, they become legends and pioneers. If my family, friends, colleagues, associates, romantic interests, and co-workers have wondered why I complain, make off-the cuff remarks, say things that others are afraid to say, make inappropriate jokes, and question “the system”? It’s because I probably listened to too many George Carlin records in my time and have tried to emulate his style, sometimes knowingly, often unknowingly. I write on this blog and feel like an asshole-weirdo with some of the absurd things I say. Why do I say these things? Why do I think these things? Am I insane? Am I adopted? Am I drunk? (yes, no, and most of the time). About a month ago, I listened to some of my old Carlin CDs and realized one thing: he did it first. I no longer felt alone. He set the standard and all I can do is follow in footsteps, as only this patriarch and grandfather of comedy can do.
On the subject of George Carlin, I wrote a blog a couple of months ago after listening to a few his CDs. I got inspired and wrote this blog, which is angry, weird, and absurd. In the vein of (but not as good as, hey I’m not a professional, fuck off) George Carlin, here is…
"Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit." Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde said that. Nothing more wilde has ever been so true (although that dude was a freak). Truth be told, be it written, printed, AIM away message (more on that here), or Facebook, a lot of people quote. Why? Some people want to be holistic (The Bible), some people want to be clever (insert comedian here), and some people want to get punched in the face (Paris Hilton or random whore here). Frankly, we have all quoted someone’s brain droppings at some point because we ourselves have nothing overly creative to say. Even in high school, we sum up the accumulation of 4 years (or more) by inserting a quote in our senior yearbook. I never did that, though. While my peers were quoting Steely Dan, The Bible, and Positive K (I got a man), I had zilch under my name. In hindsight, I deeply regret it. In further hindsight, I don’t at all, but in the furthest hindsight, I kind of do again. My biggest initial obstacle in failing to choose a person to quote was making sure another classmate (especially one I loathed) hadn’t already chosen the quote I likely had my probably bloodshot (I don’t remember) eyes on. I always wanted to quote someone that has never been quoted before. My choice today would have to be George Carlin. Although he is a quotable fellow that had been cited a ton of times, I recall George on stage one night pondering a sentence that had never been uttered by another human being…ever. It had to be first-rate and completely outlandish. He then came up with, “As soon as I pull this hot poker out of my ass, I’m going to chop my dick off!!” Carlin was the first ever to string those bizarre words together (I hope at least). Has that ever been quoted, in a yearbook no less? I think not.
As seen here at the 1:16 mark:
Ok, so that one is a bit extreme. I have actually seen the quote "Make love, not war" in a yearbook. While I thought that was cliche, George Carlin actually wished he was the man that created it. He didn't, so he offered up this one: "Make fuck, not kill." We have a winner, teach. It’s great to be the first. I can’t wait for that 10 year reunion coming up. So with the way technology changes, the way we can “quote” changes as well. For those of us who are too money for reading, you can watch videos online instead. Dig this, daddio, you can embed (or “put in” for you normals) videos into your own website text or Blogger account (that’s us!). I like that word embed, it’s a classy way of saying rape. That would make the news less nauseating. While we have the sentence “Serial killer Prance Hartfeld raped this latest victim”, the word “embed” and some additional synonyms could change that. Entertainment in installments eradicator Slick Prance Hartfeld embedded his swinebeast in his least tardy chicky-poo that was askin’ for it. Okay, that’s appalling. Admittedly, I’ve raped YouTube videos onto this blog. Our own Blogger Phil even tried serial rape his way into becoming the unofficial poster-boy for HULU. What better way to be original than show a video someone else made (several years ago at that). I digress, I suppose I never really cared what my peers thought of my in high school. In fact, a Carlin quote I always used for my AIM profile (talk about hypocritical) was "People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think. " Anyway, back to my yearbook quote, I wonder what that quote would look like had I been on our crack yearbook staff…..
In any case, thanks, George. You will be greatly missed by this asshole. Let us know if God is anything like Joe Pesci like you wanted. Rest in Peace, you will not be forgotten.