George Carlin, a comedian of real wit, humor and insight, died on Sunday at the age of 71. He may be best known for his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine, whose airing on a New York radio station led to a 1978 Supreme Court ruling upholding the FCC’s authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language during hours when children might be listening.
New York Lawyer talks about his passing and legal legacy here (free reg required), while Davis Wright Tremaine partner David Oxenford offers an interesting, if humorless, post in his broadcast law blog, in which he clarifies the Pacifica decision and claims that Carlin “effectively wrote the indecency regulations that most broadcasters abide by—without the FCC ever having had to adopt the regulations that he attributed to them.”
For me, a truer, and certainly livelier, sense of Carlin’s legacy can be found in his own words—one of my favorite bits is his riff on stuff.
Carlin was to have received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in November. He will be missed.
- posted by vera