Monday Morning Poll: George Carlin, RIP Edition

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

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44 Responses to “Monday Morning Poll: George Carlin, RIP Edition”

  1. #1 |  todd | 

    This is a hard poll. Come on can you change the question a little?
    Im not sure to what but many on the list are great and I would add Dice Clay as well. Seriously, the guy is funny and he accomplished alot in his career.
    But Kinison is my top pick on this list. The man was a genius.

  2. #2 |  Nando | 

    I had to vote for other. The guy who’s cracked me up the most has got to be Richard Jeni (RIP). Second to him, Howie Mandel was pretty funny back in the 80’s when he used to do stand-up.

    Carlin (and Gallagher) were always funny and insightful, but their comedy was aimed more at making you think. Carlin was a genius when it came to societal and political humor.

  3. #3 |  Lou W | 

    Dude, where’s Cosby? Seriously. Trust me, when you have kids, Cosby’s ‘Himself’ becomes the funniest comedy special of all time. And Steve Martin? Just the most popular stand up during the peak era of stand up. In some order those are my #1 and #2, how can they not be listed?

  4. #4 |  Danno49 | 

    George Carlin died? Well shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits!


  5. #5 |  Sithmonkey | 

    He was one of the few counter-culture comedians who could get folks from all political spectrums to shut up and laugh at themselves for a while…
    So long you mighty, purple-helmeted soldier…

  6. #6 |  airforce | 

    I’d have to say Bill Cosby too. And he doesn’t need four-letter words to make you laugh.

  7. #7 |  Brock | 

    What, no love for Carrot Top?

  8. #8 |  roy | 

    Y’know, this is going to be in very poor taste unless Carlin wins.

  9. #9 |  Ragnar Danneskjöld | 

    Pryor no contest.

    Carlin was the filthiest comic to ever narrate a children’s cartoon.

    My kids love Thomas the shit fuck Train

  10. #10 |  j.d. | 

    Doug Stanhope. I think he inches out everyone on the board…and that’s a strong list there. I recommend a quick youtube search of some videos.

  11. #11 |  Brian Sorgatz | 

    “Well shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits!”

    Well, jeepers and golly willickers! I’m glad I blogged about Carlin’s death before reading the inevitable eulogy here. I can honestly say I didn’t plagiarize (although I alluded). LOL

    But I’m still trying to decide whether it’s just my hormones that tempt me to pick Sarah Silverman in the poll.

  12. #12 |  Bryan | 

    The Cos.

  13. #13 |  claude | 

    Write in vote…

    Sam Kinison

  14. #14 |  claude | 

    And yet Sam is actually on the list. I picked the wrong week to give up coffee. Im gonna be a mess. :(

  15. #15 |  Matt Moore | 

    Nando – Gallagher made you think? Seriously? This is the guy that smashed watermelons and made jokes about parking in a driveway and driving in a parkway.

  16. #16 |  Chris Berez | 

    I’m with j.d. It’s Stanhope all the way, followed, I think, by Bill Hicks and then Carlin.

    R.I.P. George.

  17. #17 |  Rob D. | 

    Hicks, then Stanhope a close 2nd.

  18. #18 |  Zeb | 

    I would put Steve Marin on the top of my list.

  19. #19 |  bcg | 

    I’ve never seen a Hicks bit that made me laugh, ever, and I’m pretty into comedy. Maybe it doesn’t age well, I don’t know. It just doesn’t make me laugh. Maybe my sense of humor needs to grow or something.

    How does Sarah Silverman even make the list?

    Chapelle makes me laugh preposterously hard. Louis CK, Brian Regan, of course Seinfeld. The only “angry” guy who made me laugh was Carlin. RIP.

  20. #20 |  CC | 

    Steven Wright was my vote, though I am a pretty serious Wanda Sykes fan, too.


  21. #21 |  UCrawford | 

    I was really bummed that Carlin died when I saw it, even though it really shouldn’t have been unexpected since he’d had a lot of heart trouble.

    Why couldn’t it have been Dane Cook, though?

  22. #22 |  UCrawford | 

    As for the poll (which would be better suited as a ranking than a one vote poll), I’ve heard most of those comedians and I’d rank the top ones:

    1) Bill Hicks
    2) Richard Pryor
    3) George Carlin
    4) Jerry Seinfeld
    5) Chris Rock
    6) Steven Wright

    Everyone else falls somewhere below. I know a lot of people love Kinison (and I liked a lot of his work), but I always thought the gimmicks with him (particularly the screaming) overwhelmed the strength of his material and his career was short. Bill Hicks was a contemporary and rival of Kinison who did far better work with similar material and his work is still just as good today as it was when he released it, so Kinison doesn’t rate particularly high with me (although I’d rank him above the Dennis Leary/Dane Cook tier). Neither does Eddie Murphy, who was a better comedic actor than a standup comedian in my opinion (“Raw” hasn’t aged well at all). Chappelle’s great, but his career is too inconsistent and he’s put out some real crap as well. Neither Murphy nor Chappelle come close to Pryor or Bill Cosby (who should have made your poll).

  23. #23 |  digistar | 

    It wasn’t a stand-up routine, but I have always loved Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks 2000 Year Old Man routines. Most of them are still side splittingly funny now, forty years after they were recorded.

    I will miss Carlin. The man could make even mundane language funny.

  24. #24 |  Jonathan Hohensee | 

    Bill Hicks was a comedian? Really?
    I thought comedy clubs just paid him to stand there for a half hour to talk down to the audience and explain to them why he’s smarter because he knows that taking mushrooms is the only way to enlightenment to the fact that the CIA caused JFK assassination because the economy is a myth.

  25. #25 |  JLM | 

    Robin Williams belongs on that list somewhere. I think that guy could improvise a whole stand up routine.

    I never cared for Raw either. Eddy Murphy’s earlier routine (I think it was called Delirious) was much better.

    Lisa Lampanelli has to be the funniest stand up comic that I’ve seen in recent years.

  26. #26 |  Steve | 

    Bill Cosby, Steve Martin, and Howie Mandel deserve to be up there. Emo Philips , maybe.

    If you’ve got Sarah Silverman (she’s too young to rank among the rest on that list, IMO), you gotta have Lisa Lampanelli.

  27. #27 |  Steve | 


    Good catch with Robin Williams. I wouldn’t vote for him, but he deserves an honorable mention, at least. Rowan Atkinson and Lewis Black are hilarious when they are at their best, too, but I’d put them in the “also ran” column.

  28. #28 |  JLM | 

    Stanhope is funnier than hell too. He’s got to take the award for most shock value. I’ve seen a few youtube clips where somebody in his audience got so offended that they had to be removed.

  29. #29 |  Bot | 


    Don Rickles
    Jackie Mason

  30. #30 |  UCrawford | 


    Bill Hicks was a comedian? Really?
    I thought comedy clubs just paid him to stand there for a half hour to talk down to the audience and explain to them why he’s smarter because he knows that taking mushrooms is the only way to enlightenment to the fact that the CIA caused JFK assassination because the economy is a myth.

    It depended what kind of mood he was in on any given night. Like I said, check out “Rant in E-Minor” and “Arizona Bay”. If you don’t find them funny…well, to each his own I suppose.

  31. #31 |  UCrawford | 


    I like Emo Phillips too, and agree about Martin and Cosby. Howie Mandel doesn’t belong anywhere near that list, though. He’s got his moments, but his best performances didn’t even exceed the mediocre performances by the guys Radley listed.

  32. #32 |  UCrawford | 


    Steve Martin’s best bit…

  33. #33 |  Steve | 

    Denis Leary is also hilarious, though not on the top of the list.

  34. #34 |  UCrawford | 


    Denis Leary stole jokes from Bill Hicks…not just style of delivery or genre (which goes on all the time among comics) but he actually stole jokes that Hicks used and tried to pass them off as his own…most infamously the Jim Fixx joke, which Leary actually recorded on his “No Cure For Cancer” album two years after Hicks released it on his album.

    When asked about Leary, Hicks told an interviewer: “I have a scoop for you. I stole his act. I camouflaged it with punchlines, and to really throw people off, I did it before he did.”

    Reportedly, upon hearing a tape of Leary’s album No Cure for Cancer, “Bill was furious. All these years, aside from the occasional jibe, he had pretty much shrugged off Leary’s lifting. Comedians borrowed, stole stuff and even bought bits from one another. Milton Berle and Robin Williams were famous for it. This was different. Leary had, practically line for line, taken huge chunks of Bill’s act and recorded it”.

    As an actor, I find Denis Leary fairly watchable, but as a stand-up comedian he’s a hack.

  35. #35 |  Jonathan Hohensee | 

    It depended what kind of mood he was in on any given night. Like I said, check out “Rant in E-Minor” and “Arizona Bay”. If you don’t find them funny…well, to each his own I suppose.
    My own is pretty eached. I found both CDs to be entertaining, but because it was a of a portrait of a desperate and angry man, with an occasional good bits. I mean, how pretentious was those musical intervals? Christ.

  36. #36 |  Danno49 | 

    #11 – Brian Sorgatz –

    Indeed it was inevitable good sir, I was just lucky to be the first here! :) And if anyone is a plagiarist, it is I for plucking his most memorable bit to illustrate my grief. Which is genuine, of course. I loved the class clown and he will be sorely missed.

  37. #37 |  j.d. | 

    i think the what distinguishes some of these comics from others is what they leave you with. if all you do is laugh, then fine. that’s a comic. but the greatest comics are the ones that can make you laugh and ponder afterwards about what is behind everything. 4 out of 5 of the comics listed only told jokes. only may 3, plus one not named, told jokes that made you think on the drive home how f’d up some things in this world are.

  38. #38 |  UCrawford | 


    I mean, how pretentious was those musical intervals?

    They probably fit considering Hicks’ obsession with music and they seemed used mainly as a segue. Although I agree that they were kind of distracting and I didn’t care for the original songs.

    As for him being a desperate, angry man…well, you’ve just described most of the stand-up comics out there. Robin Williams was that way (he’s gotten a little better), Jim Carrey seems that way, Jonathan Winters was that way, Sam Kinison and Lenny Bruce were absolutely that way. Most comics are angry, unhappy, self-loathing cynics at some level or another…that’s why you see so many with substance abuse problems and/or multiple broken marriages. The humor is often a defense mechanism to cope with a world that shocks and horrifies them. It’s also why a lot of them become irritating bores as they get older…they get so angry and cynical about the bad things in the world that gradually they abandon the humor and just start whining about all the things that piss them off (which nobody except fanboys really want to listen to). Al Franken, to my mind, would be an example of that. Hicks definitely walked that line (and often crossed it) all through his career, but he kept the comedic edge. Granted that part of that was probably because he died so young. If he’d had another 10 years I could see him either becoming a huge sellout or becoming a burned out shell (kind of like Bill Murray).

  39. #39 |  UCrawford | 

    Actually, that’s probably the most impressive thing about George Carlin. From the time he started his anti-authority comedy to the day he died (somewhere around 40 years) he never really sold out or burned out. He was pretty much the same guy, with the same humor, with a relatively stable personal life (aside from some drug problems quite awhile ago) and he never really changed until the day he died. Even the family-friendly stuff he did wasn’t really far off from his core material.

    So I guess I’d probably bump him up to the top of the list based off of that.

  40. #40 |  Sam Paris | 

    Cos or Carlin, which is first depends on my mood that day. Both are banned from my car, because both of them have nearly caused me to lose control of it at inopportune times.

  41. #41 |  Marty | 

    “I am FUCK. Fuck of the MOUNTAIN!”

    Ron White should’ve at least been on the list.

    But… I had to vote for Richard Pryor. He edges out George Carlin for my money.

  42. #42 |  Brad Warbiany | 

    I’m a huge Stephen Wright fan, but that’s just because I’m weird.

    I voted for Pryor. On the list, I think he’s got to be the top. Carlin is up there, as is Dangerfield and Kinison.

    Shortly thereafter would be Chris Rock, Chappelle, Hicks, Regan and Seinfeld, all for wildly different reasons.

    Jim Gaffigan sucks. Hot pocket.

  43. #43 |  old | 

    Lenny Bruce is not afraid!

  44. #44 |  Brad Warbiany | 

    You left Robert Schimmel off the list. I doubt he’d reach the top of that list, but he’s one funny guy…