Posted by: GeekHiker | June 23, 2008

Remembering Carlin

(I know I said I wasn’t going to post for a bit, but this is rather timely.)

Sunday comic great George Carlin passed away.

I could repeat what others have said, lauding Carlin’s notable talents in his unique brand of comedy mixed with social commentary. But I won’t.

There’s something else that I will remember him for.

I often found Carlin’s comedy to be quite hilarious, but there were other times it just didn’t jive with me. Some rants were positively too bitter for my taste.

Even some of those, though, I will begrudgingly admit that I snickered a bit.

Still, I best remember Carlin, ever the cynic, for something he said in a TV interview when I was in high school. He was asked about why he was so cynical:

“A cynic,” he replied, “is nothing more than a disappointed optimist.”

I would read later interviews when he would say something similar, sometimes using “optimist”, sometimes using “idealist”.

My humor had always leaned towards the cynical side, but I personally had never been particularly pessimistic. I could never really resolve those two extremes (hey, I was 16), so when I heard that, I snapped my fingers and knew just that little bit more about myself and who I was.

Because there are so many times that I see the possibilities, the things that we humans are capable of. And so many times that I am disappointed by the choices we, as a species, make.

And yet, I go right on hoping.

Carlin took the idea to a bit more of an extreme than I did (see this interview, for example). After all, I still like to vote.

Still. Thanks, Mr. Carlin, for helping me discover at least part of my own, personal philosophy.



  1. I love it! I am definitely adding that to my set of quotes. Not that I am ever cynical…

  2. What I loved about him was that he would be all in your face and yet make you laugh about it, “hey, yeah, I am a dumbass!”

  3. I think I am just disappointed…

  4. Never heard that quote, but it’s a great one. Very poetic for a comic who liked to curse. 🙂

  5. May his soul rest in peace.



  6. Aly – LOL, noooooo 😉

    Dingo – He was a master of that art.

    Just A Girl – Awwwww

    Mel Heth – I dunno, sometimes cursing can be poetry…

    Cara – Agreed.

  7. My Mom, who is a little straight laced at times, heard Carlin on the tonight show (a clean performance) and thought a Carlin record would be a good gift for her father. Fortunately I had a Carlin record and let her listen to it before actually going out an buying it. I think her ears turned red and she immediately changed her mind.

    Rest In Peace, Man!

  8. I’m still reading, honest…I started missing Carlin almost immediately. I am still reading, I’m just…busy….

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