LOS ANGELES - Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television. Some People Are Stupid. Stuff. People I Can Do Without.
George Carlin, who died of heart failure Sunday at 71, leaves behind not only a series of memorable routines, but a legal legacy: His most celebrated monologue, a frantic, informed riff on those infamous seven words, led to a Supreme Court decision on broadcasting offensive language.
The counterculture hero's jokes also targeted things such as misplaced shame, religious hypocrisy and linguistic quirks - why, he once asked, do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?
Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, went into St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon complaining of chest pain and died later that evening, said his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He had performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.
"He was a genius and I will miss him dearly," said Jack Burns, who was the other half of a comedy duo with Carlin in the early 1960s.
The actor Ben Stiller called Carlin "a hugely influential force in stand-up comedy. He had an amazing mind, and his humor was brave, and always challenging us to look at ourselves and question our belief systems, while being incredibly entertaining. He was one of the greats."
He was a fairly regular visitor to northwest Ohio, appearing in concerts four times since 2001, including a show last year at the Stranahan Theater. In an interview with The Blade in 2003 he gave a succinct synopsis of his comedy.
"I like bothering people, I really enjoy disturbing people, I've gotta tell you the truth," he said in a telephone interview. "It's perverse, but the fun I have is in finding out their sensitive spots ... and stepping on 'em, you know? Whether it's God or the flag, their children, which they think are so sacred, their parenting skills ... I attack parents and how badly they're doing, and I just have a lot of fun."
Toledo even played a minor role in Carlin's early '70s routine. His fifth album was called "Toledo Window Box," his play on words for a type of marijuana that would be sort of the34.05349 -118.2453