Somebody writing a profile about me asked a question I had to think about for a moment. “Who are your biggest influences?” I have lots of people I can cite from the investment business. But the real answer, it dawned on me, was George Carlin.
When I was eleven years old my dad brought home a CD of George’s stand-up special “What Am I Doing In New Jersey?” and I sat on the floor with a pair of headphones listening to it over and over again. I probably played it a hundred times. Then I spent the next twenty years waiting for each HBO special to air. I got to see George Carlin live at Bally’s in the late 1990’s and he torched the room. People walked out of that theater out of breath.
What I latched onto was Carlin’s intolerance of stupidity, willingness to take on anyone he thought was full of shit, and love of language and the power of words. He could rip someone’s lungs out with a single sentence – and a giant grin across his face after delivering the line.
I’d say he’s definitely the greatest stand-up comedian of all time and quite possibly one of the greatest public speakers (orators? lol) in American history. Had he been a writer rather than a comic, he’d be on a pedestal next to Twain. And the establishment is lucky that he detested politics, because there’s no one earth who could have beaten him in a live debate.
George Carlin died ten years ago today of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California. He was 71 years old. We can only imagine the kinds of things he’d be saying in the current moment.
Anyway, he did this thing about why nothing seems to change for most people during his 2005 special “Life is Worth Losing” at the Beacon Theater in NYC. It’s very eerie how prescient this was…