George Carlin Dies

George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor and author, who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums.

Carlin was noted for his black humor as well as his thoughts on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. Carlin and his "Seven Dirty Words" comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a narrow 5–4 decision by the justices affirmed the government's power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves.

The first of his 14 stand-up comedy specials for HBO was filmed in 1977. In the 1990s and 2000s, Carlin's routines focused on the flaws in modern-day America. He often commented on contemporary political issues in the United States and satirized the excesses of American culture. His final HBO special, It's Bad for Ya, was filmed less than four months before his death.

Carlin placed second on the Comedy Central cable television network list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians, ahead of Lenny Bruce and behind Richard Pryor. He was a frequent performer and guest host on The Tonight Show during the three-decade Johnny Carson era, and hosted the first episode of Saturday Night Live.

The seven dirty words are seven English-language words that comedian George Carlin first listed in 1972 in his monologue "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television". At the time, the words were considered highly inappropriate and unsuitable for broadcast on the public airwaves in the United States, whether radio or television. As such, they were avoided in scripted material, and bleep-censored in the rare cases in which they were used; broadcast standards differ in different parts of the world, then and now, although most of the words on Carlin's original list remain taboo on American broadcast television as of 2009. The list was not an official enumeration of forbidden words, but rather was compiled by Carlin. Nonetheless, a radio broadcast featuring these words led to a Supreme Court decision that helped establish the extent to which the federal government could regulate speech on broadcast television and radio in the United States.