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The Irish had never heard of George Carlin, one of their own


In December 2007, Carlin did a three-hour+ interview with the Archive of American Television in which he tells a lot about his personal history and his career.

[Link opens in a new window/tab, and is the first of several segments on YouTube.]

• Those who do not know Carlin's material can explore it for themselves. Carlin was prodigious.

When the great philosopher comic George Carlin died in June of 2008 I was living in Ireland. I sent a text to a friend and co-worker there, and found that he'd never heard the name.

Later, I learned that this was not an anomaly — that in fact it was the rule, nearly without exception.

Since then, two of my Irish friends have become enthusiasts of his work. One of them asked me at the time why I hadn't said anything while Carlin was alive. The other began preaching the man's talents amongst friends, family, and acquaintances of all ages.

Carlin was as Irish-American as it is possible to be, the son of Patrick and Mary.

George Carlin was a giant of standup comedy. The homages laid upon his memory are unsurpassed. He was an astounding performer and writer, and hugely influential.

And when he died, the Irish had never heard of him.

In 2010 I asked the Irish-American comedian Des Bishop about this observation, and he wrote:


"He was not well known in Ireland. This was a shame as I feel his critical energy would have been well recieved. However some of his subject matter may have been too raw for many people's taste in Ireland when he was at his peak. It must be remembered that he broke first in the 70s when the awareness of international stand up/spoken word was not huge. But it's great that you were aware of his work. Personally I loved his analysis of language the best."



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