George Carlin, who died on Sunday, has some A-list eulogizers.
Jerry Seinfeld has penned an obit for Tuesday's New York Times called "Dying Is Hard. Comedy Is Harder."
You could certainly say that George downright invented modern American stand-up comedy in many ways. Every comedian does a little George. I couldn't even count the number of times I've been standing around with some comedians and someone talks about some idea for a joke and another comedian would say, "Carlin does it." I've heard it my whole career: "Carlin does it," "Carlin already did it," "Carlin did it eight years ago."
And he didn't just "do" it. He worked over an idea like a diamond cutter with facets and angles and refractions of light. He made you sorry you ever thought you wanted to be a comedian. He was like a train hobo with a chicken bone. When he was done there was nothing left for anybody.
But his brilliance fathered dozens of great comedians. I personally never cared about "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television," or "FM & AM." To me, everything he did just had this gleaming wonderful precision and originality.
Joan Rivers penned one for the NY Post called "A Standup Guy Who Broke All The Rules":
He was fearless. He had absolutely the most important attitude a comedian should have, which is: if you don't like it, don't listen.
I am much more of a coward than George was. When they told me you can't do or say this in your show, I would at least try not to do or say those things. George would just go on and do what he wanted.
When George did the seven words you can't say on television, I told him he really only had six - tits wasn't in the same league as the rest.
But he needed a seventh. Seven was funnier.
I like to think George left the seven words to me. In fact I just used two of them in Britain and got thrown off of television. I think of it as my homage to him, and I'm so glad he was still alive to see it. I still have five left.
Ben Stiller released a statement:
"George Carlin was a hugely influential force in stand-up comedy," Stiller, 42, said in a statement. "He had an amazing mind, and his humor was brave, and always challenging us to look at ourselves and question our belief systems, while being incredibly entertaining. He was one of the greats and he will be missed."
As did Jay Leno:
"If there was ever a comedian who was a voice of their generation it was George Carlin," said Leno, who frequently had Carlin on the Tonight Show (a venue on which Carlin started appearing in the 1960s).
"Before George, comedians aspired to put on nice suits and perform in Las Vegas. George rebelled against that life. His comedy took on privilege and elitism, even railing against the game of golf."
Despite the passage of years, said Leno, 58, "He never lost that fire. May he continue to inspire young people never to accept the status quo."
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