Legendary comedian George Carlin has died of heart failure at 71. Carlin's probably my biggest hero as a comic, someone whom I didn't always agree with, but who always argued his points with such conviction -- as he once put it, "I don't have pet peeves. I have major psychotic fucking hatreds." -- and seemingly impenetrable logic that I couldn't help but laugh.
I frequently quote his philosophy that any topic, no matter how sensitive or despicable, can be made into a joke, as he demonstrates in his routine about how rape can be funny. As he put it, the trick is how you construct the joke and what the exaggeration is.
I also loved Carlin's obsession with the misuse of language. His routine about the 7 words you can't say on television (which pay cable and "NYPD Blue" rendered obsolete) is his most famous, but his material about non-profane language could be just as funny.
I may be asked to write something longer for the paper, so I need to head into the office early. In the meantime, some other good bits of Carlin you can watch or listen to: