This Saturday is George Carlin’s birthday. He’d be 81 this year, if his heart hadn’t given out almost ten years ago. He’d probably have some things to say about the state of the world today, if he was still around. He usually had some things to say while he was here.
Carlin had a great talent for pointing out the hypocrisies and trivialities of modern life, delivering universal observations in his unique and unmistakable voice. He basically wrote the road map for the future of stand-up comedy as midcentury American mores collapsed in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, and as the counterculture gradually became the dominant culture. There’s a reason he came in third in our list of the greatest stand-up comics of all time.
In April 1978, at the peak of his stand-up career, Carlin was interviewed by DIR Direct News. The interviewer, Sam Merrill, focuses on Carlin’s role as the counterculture’s ambassador to the “straight” world. Carlin was working on a film at the time (presumably the 1979 comedy Americathon) and Merrill uses that as a launching pad to discuss not just Carlin’s mainstream success but the comedian’s opinions on middle class values and politics. And yes, Carlin’s choice of beer, Coors, plays into that.
It’s a short interview—only about three minutes—and well worth that short amount of time. You can listen to it below. And if you want to check out more late ‘70s Carlin, we have an entire 1979 George Carlin stand-up set in our vault.
This clip is a small part of the massive collection of classic music and comedy that can be found in the Paste Music & Daytrotter mobile app. To access that content today, use the links below to install that app on your device.