A Thinking Man’s Standup Comedy: The Late George Carlin

George CarlinStandup comedy comes in several flavors, just like ice cream, whether everyday slice of life, self-effacing, or thinking man’s standup comedy.  The thinking man’s comedy is quite a bit deeper, more philosophical.  And one of the legend’s of standup comedy–the late George Carlin–took the thinking man’s comedy to distant parts of the universe.

The evolution of Carlin’s comedy as such probably started in his youth, when he would ponder the meaning of new words he heard, and his mother encouraged him to go look them up in the dictionary, according to Carlin.  Just the thought of words, the concepts or meanings attached to them, can get the gears of intellect going.  Also, when Carlin got to be a young adult and was in the formative stages of his standup comedy act, he had experienced the youth rebellion of the 1960s, against the so-called establishment.  Carlin incorporated themes of such rebelliousness into his act by the early 1970s.  Carlin’s seven dirty words routine–involving seven dirty words that could not be broadcast over television or radio.  It can be interpreted as was a way of challenging the establishment (in this case, the Federal Communications Commissions and its broadcasting policies).  This routine got Carlin arrested in 1972, and even led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision against a radio station that broadcast the routine at the time.  The combination of words and their meanings, and the American social movements from the 1960s to the early 1970s, most likely served as a catalyst of Carlin’s deeper philosophical comedy, albeit with his often cynical view of things throw in.

While Carlin is no longer with us in person, he is still with us in spirit, having left his mark on the comedy world and influencing many a comedian.

To explore emerging or established thinking man’s comedians that may be out there, check out the RISE Comedy Playhouse, or contact us.