Cardinal Glick meets his Invisible Avenger in the Sky

While I was away at Sesame Place, dodging water rides, thunderstorms and heaps of unhealthy American food, George Carlin died. Maybe it was fitting that I spent 2 days in a place that he would have abhorred and loved at the same time. After all, he did narrate the Thomas The Tank Engine videos and was wildly considered a very gentle person.

It should come as no surprise that the Trackball regards the man who portrayed Cardinal Glick in Kevin Smith's Dogma (the character who replaced the crucifix with the thumbs-up Buddy Christ) as a demigod. George Carlin was the truth, wrapped in humor. As a teen in the late 1980s, Carlin was already a god to me when I was old enough to see his material. He was controversial and funny. But he also seemed like a cool guy who would be fun to hang with and watch humanity pass by, if only for the commentary. Yes, I did see his short-lived Fox sitcom and Jersey Girl.

His observational humor was eye-opening. He had a way of taking human reality and revealing its absurdities in ways that I had never thought of before. And he always stuck with the truth, the way he saw it, even if it offended, fell flat or was ignored. In a way, he made you face the truth, no matter how uncomfortable (like his characterizing of belief in a god as believing in having your own personal invisible avenger in the sky) and his gentleness and his humor helped you get comfy with it.

His naughty humor was liberating. They're just words, he pointed out, but it was clear he loved language and words in particular. He was as much a poet of the stand-up world and television world as he was a performer. He just snagged the Twain Prize for American Humor, and when I saw the bio pieces on him I thought it was because he was due to receive it, not because it was an obit. Shit.

Kevin Smith and Jerry Seinfeld, who could be considered the descendants of naughty Carlin and observational Carlin, have both written tributes to him which you should read. The best I can say is that the Twain of our time has passed and will be sorely missed by this fan.

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