Date of Death: June 22, 2008
Cause of Death: Heart Failure
The oldest death in this list. I more or less worshiped at the comedic altar of Carlin when I was a teenager. I found his general disdain for all authority very appealing, and his crazy antics made me laugh without fail. I saw two of his HBO specials live (You Are All Diseased and Life Is Worth Losing), and watched his final special about three weeks before he passed.
His death was not the least bit a surprise. He had three heart attacks, multiple angioplasties, and long-term chemical addictions. I actually thought he wouldn’t make it to 70. His last special, while funny, was also kind of sad to watch. He stuttered a lot, lost his place a couple of times, and just looked really tired. Despite this, it still hit me when I heard the news. You just knew the guy would do specials until he died, and I was hoping he’d be providing comedy for a long time.
That said, I don’t really watch his stuff anymore. I’m older and his stuff just doesn’t resonate with me like it did when I was younger. I’m less cynical about people now and I tend to appreciate comedians who are more laid back and smile while doing their jokes. But he inspired Louis C.K., who I think has taken the best of Carlin’s act and improved it three-fold. So thanks, George.