George Carlin’s Art for Words

  In the early ’80s when I was in high school, I had two strange hobbies. One was memorizing song lyrics. The other was memorizing comedy. Comedy movies, yes… and stand-up comedy, absolutely! As long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the impact of the perfect phrase, the right wording that provokes a response.

One of my very favorite stand-up routines ever caught on film was George Carlin’s “Live from Carnegie Hall.” Cerebral… side-splitting… brilliant.

More than 20 years later, in what was probably one of his last interviews, George Carlin shares his take on his craft. Be it comedy or marketing – it’s all about artfully crafting the right words to trigger the reaction you’re looking for. For comedy writing, Carlin was a master.

Here’s an excerpt from that interview. You can read more at

“This is my art. This is what I do. You wouldn’t ask Pablo Casals … let me tell you about Pablo Casals, … the famous cellist. He was considered the virtuoso of the cello, certainly the greatest cellist in the 20th century. He was in his 90s… and doing an occasional — an occasional — recital, but he rehearsed three hours a day, regardless.

Someone said to him, “You know, Pablo, you’re in your 90s now. You’re a past master. Everyone knows you’re an accomplished cellist. Everyone knows you’re a virtuoso. Why do you still practice three hours a day?” He said, “Well, I’m beginning to notice some improvement.”

That says it all about artists. You’re never finished. There’s always somewhere to go. There’s always deeper to dig. Artists are never satisfied. There’s always a vague dissatisfaction going on that they haven’t really said it yet, they haven’t really found it yet. I realize I’m just an entertainer, but when you write your own stuff then you’re dabbling in art — because writing is an art — and you’re composing and creating from nothing, from just your impressions. I do this because I love it. I’ll probably do it for a long, long time.”

A long time, but unfortunately not long enough. Thank you, Mr. Carlin. Goodbye.


One Comment on “George Carlin’s Art for Words”

  1. Ivana Taylor says:

    My GOD what is up with George Carlin today?! I was just watching “Actor’s Studio” he was on. On Bill O’Reilly – George Carlin is on… he’s a perceptive poet. I’m all about Geroge.

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