So as not to say, he has died, because that's actually annoying, folks. I won't say "Rest in Peace" either. Rest: who rests? Why would anybody want or need to? and in Peace? In what world is that the natural state of things, to have peace? The world seems to have been made by doing. Things get done by other people and you will not like them once you have seen what these people did.
I have imbibed a deep, useful, protective cynicism, from the comedy of George Carlin. People will remember the dark side and the scatological humor he represented, but I will always recall that he told the truth a lot, because the truth is actually where the humor in our human situation lies. As verbal beings, we use language to both hurt and smooth over our condition, and he was a student and a master of language. He spoke keenly about our oxymoronic outlook, and our squeamishness about those (censored) words for what amounted to our everyday reality. He spoke truth a lot. That was what I liked, because it isn't funny if it isn't true, and contra-Keats: truth isn't always beauty. Sometimes it is awful, but that's when you do have to laugh, to say "fuck you" to the thing that pisses you off. He flipped off a lot of the shibboleths of our so-called consensual reality, and in that way, he was a hero. He fought dragons of mistruths, and the ghosts of manners that were not reasonable, and needed to be popped like the over-filled balloons of human goofiness that they were.
And his biting humor was a sword in a way, for true things. He did not celebrate the governemtn, the pop-culture, or the religion of our time; his was the voice of a guy who was fed up and needed to say this one or two or three things, you know, our voice.
George Carlin was a smart guy, a wise guy, a guy who used language well and his humor was important and made people think. This is the important part: he made people think. He didn't just do it himself, his comedy demanded you go with him and sometimes, you would find yourself asking those annoying questions, too. Why am I thinking this thing (oh, yeah, Carlin was talking about that...)
He depicted himself as such a curmudgeon, but he was a straight-up good guy--this is what I take away from his comedy bits and his books. You don't always speak so honestly, and make humor out of our common situtaton for so long, if you have not really tried to understand your audience: those other people out there who listen, and hear you, and know if you are full of it. His audience listened to him and we knew he was for real.
So I'll post a little Youtube clip, just to remind people of what a talent he was. And he was also a good model for me, as an atheist--really. He logically skewered the religion he was raised in. The nuns must've taught him logic, or something, back in the day...