The George Carlin Experiment

You could say I grew up watching George Carlin.

He was always my favorite rhetoric-ist. The most logical. The most reasonable. He was in effect my only access to what I now know as the Trivium.

In my first 25 years of life, George Carlin’s material truly made me laugh at what could only be defined as Carlin’s hyper-realistic perspective stand-up routine. It was the most harsh and abusive form of truth intervention for the entire human species – and yet it was masked brilliantly as comedy.

At around age 25, I attended an event in Las Vegas that was the beginning of my own transformation and incremental arrival into the over-exposure of hyper-reality Carlin spewed. This event was George Carlin, live at the Bally’s Casino resort. How wondrously excited I was to see up close and personal one of my few Idols in life. And the show went on…

But something was different.

Something just didn’t feel right.

George wasn’t the problem, for he was delivering his material just as rehearsed-ly as he always had, mentally re-ciphering eerily associative memory poems with endless lists of material and anecdotal stories with an almost autistic flair.

No, the problem laid elsewhere… It was the crowd. And it was myself.

I realize now as I listen to archives of the HBO and large older productions of Carlin’s televised stand-up routines that the audiences were given a bit of help. Laugh tracks were used to either replace or augment the seemingly jovial nature of the large audiences. Years of working in Hollywood sound departments helped my ears confirm the false stereo and room placement effect of certain “callers” within the otherwise echo-effected hall – their outbursts were out of place and sometimes non-situational. In other words, fake laughing was added to create the typical sitcom fake audience.

As I listened intently to and watched the live body language of the same old Carlin I was used to up on that stage, it seemed to me that somehow the material had changed… yet inevitably it had stayed exactly the same, with the same timeless delivery.

Have you ever wanted something so bad that in your mind you allowed it to be what you expected, even when you knew it was not? This was how my own cognitive dissonance played havoc on my conscious that night. For I realized something very disturbing as this man spoke with contempt.

George Carlin is not being funny. He is not telling jokes. In fact, George Carlin isn’t actually funny.

His disturbing truth is such a blow to anyone-whom-might-be-listening’s ego that the accepted response is a nervous laughter to match that of the crowd. I would bet that Carlin’s last thought before he received his standing-ovation and final laughs and cheers for the night was that each and every audience member out there cheering, at one time during this routine tonight thought to him or herself: “Yeah… the asshole he’s joking about right now is me…”. I’d even imagine he could feel and almost taste the difference in tonal quality between those who laughed genuinely and those who laughed to cover up their horror and dissonance relating to Carlin’s hyper-accurate satire.

For truly, no man has ever laid out the reality of the American way of life than did this man. No common blood man in his right mind can possibly think that anything Carlin stated about the actions and control by elite forces of the common man could be even close to funny. For George was revealing nothing but the rawest of reality, tearing it wide open, and relinquishing it upon the audience like a plague of truth. And I would imagine that George, if impossibly presented with this statement today, would simply and logically conclude that: ‘this very reasonably must mean that none of them are in their right mind. My statements, that are not jokes but instead a guide to the revelation of hell on earth, are greeted with belly-laughing and idiotic group-think cheers by 90% of the population?’

And so I laughed miserable and false laughs all night, wanting to fit into the crowd, and sometimes without really smiling, while in my heart I was taking in everything this brilliant commentator projected as his world view. In short, as far as comedy routines go, this one was horrific. I could sense the same reaction throughout the arena; while much of the audience went through the familiar simulation of comedy. But his words rang true, and I couldn’t help but notice the same disappointed sentiment traveling randomly throughout the audience.

Now, many years later, I know what I was feeling was not disappointment in a show that was not necessarily very funny, but instead I was empathizing with George’s live emotional state. He never laughs at his own “jokes”. He seldom tells any jokes, other than to cleverly end one of his painfully real appeals to reason and logic with an anecdotal happenstance.

No, the problem wasn’t George’s material, it was that his material was working on my soul… and it wasn’t funny.

And so I ask you to take the time to do a little experiment on yourself, like I did.

Here is a video of Carlin’s finest political satire and truth telling with laugh tracks added for effect. Click it and see if you laugh at his truth-telling. Perhaps the question “are you awake” fits nicely here, for those awakened to the truth of Carlin’s words would never justify laughing at not only their own sick society-based disposition but the very sickness of society and the government that kills to protect that sickness.

Maybe it’s just me, but I found this to be more sobering than any State of the Union speech ever delivered:

No smiles…

No laughs…

Just an agonizing presence and sobriety on stage mixed with hopeless comedic simulation with visions of a fat paycheck at the end. Here, truly was a man without hope, abandoning his faith in humanity long ago.

Now you might go watch the pain and contempt we call the comedy of Bill Hicks and see how it feels. I stopped laughing at him too.

This is the George Carlin sanity test – an experiment for the analysis of your own state of mind. I hope you passed, and I wish I could personally tell George I get it man… I finally get it. And you are not a funny man. Just a misunderstood brilliant prophet of the times.


–Clint Richardson (
–Saturday, January 11th, 2014


Leave a comment


  1. He’s gone, but as we can see, his words will never perish…. He was always an inspiration of mine, and today even I rant as he did, and my banter, updated by my perpetual desire to stand for good…..

    On another note, remember that repeating the same behavior and then expecting different results is insanity! So beware or the Democrats and Republicans, no matter of their different shades… The facts remain the same, the culmination of the aforementioned have presented many of us like minded, with our current dissatisfaction.

    And, if you are still hanging on to what once was, then vote for anybody but a Democrat or Republican. The results of couldn’t get any worse! So, please don’t fall for the lesser of two evils crap, or it’s better to know your enemy stuff either…..

    The only other choice is to completely remove consent, but not before prepared for the inevitable consequences…… Although the struggles which will eventually rest heart and mind. We will become more self sufficient after each little war waged. Each to further bolster natural rights, the sovereignty within!

    Just thinking…………


  2. iona

     /  January 11, 2014

    Absolutely agree. Coming into realization must be similar to an alcoholic achieving sobriety. Was the effort really worth it?


  3. I always liked George Carlin–I knew, even as a child, he spoke the truth–but I never understood why people LAUGHED when listening to him. He’s ANGRY, and he’s telling us just exactly WHY. How is that funny? Because it’s true?

    We are now reaping what we have been sowing over the past three or so generations (the years, incidentally, in which Carlin was performing), and now our seed, in its turn, is so horribly deformed that its fruits can only be toxic, assuming we’re fertile at all. It doesn’t take a prophet to see THIS particular nightmare coming, and by “coming”, I mean it’s at our door.


  4. Brilliant commentary. I’ve thought these same thoughts about both Carlin & Hicks, but only voiced this to a close friend & fellow anti-Joohad traveler (albeit in a far less articulate & organized form as your essay). I look forward to delving into more of your work.


  5. This is rich Clint. I saw one of Carlin’s last performances, when he was past 70 years old. I commented to my now X husband “Why are people laughing, he is talking about real things?”. My comment did not go over well… as you can imagine.

    Thanks for this great tribute to this great man who tried… he really tried.


  6. There are a lot of people who have watched George Carlin’s spiel about voting, yet who still vote. I fail to understand how people can be aware of the truth, yet continue to act as if it didn’t exist. Carlin laid it out: If you vote, you can’t complain–you are complicit in the system and whatever it does is done in your name, regardless of who or what you voted for. It doesn’t matter how people vote. We have a winner-take-all electoral system, so whoever the central tabulators say wins, has the power granted by the consent of the governed, to do whatever they wish. According to the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore 2000, the votes don’t even have to be counted, and according to the Constitution, Article I, Section 5, if Congress “judges” that the person who really lost the election, has won it, there is no appeal from that decision except to the Congress that made it. Both Congress, when it comes to Congressional elections, and the Supreme Court, with regard to almost everything else, have the Divine Right of Kings in that their edicts, no matter how factually incorrect, nonsensical, or even utterly insane, cannot be appealed without resort to armed revolution.

    George Carlin wasn’t joking–he was a serious as death.


  7. mike

     /  January 11, 2014

    Very nicely said, Clint.

    I saw the same when I watched Carlin on DVD a few years ago.

    I could taste the reality of his words and see the sobriety in his eyes

    As you know, he was a very clever man – and I reckon that he knew 90% of people would never ‘get it’. But what he was doing wasn’t reaching out to everyone – he was reaching out to the few who could see – who would start questioning even more and then eventually becoming prophets and enlightened ones in their own right. (And look at you now dude…)

    I’m not sure it has ever required “the 90%” to wake up – but a reasonable number of movers and shakers to be so effective in their words and actions that the other 90% would be carried along by the sea-change.

    I don’t know much at all about Carlin but I hope he wasn’t frustrated by the seeming lack of people ‘getting it’ – he did a genius job of planting seeds and laying out how it was. There was only one Carlin but many, many people who got to hear his words and who knew exactly what he was talking about and who are better people – and teachers – as a result.

    “There are three classes of people: those who see, those who see when they are shown, and those who do not see”. ~ Leonardo da Vinci

    Liked by 1 person

  8. CP3

     /  January 12, 2014

    I laughed at George Carlin as a kid and young man,
    then when I finally woke up out of The Matrix
    due to 9/11, the moon lies, Jeff Bauman, the
    holohoax, nurse Nayirah, Charles Jaco, the
    USS LIBERTY, Sandy Hook, et. al., I realized
    this man, Mr. GC, was the greatest genius the
    “reality” movement ever had and sadly most
    failed to recognize.

    Nice article, just a tragedy a man like George
    ever has to check out.


  9. PaleoSapiens

     /  January 12, 2014

    I respectfully disagree. There is an earlier George Carlin that was very funny and insightful. The two greatest examples being, 7 words you can’t say on T.V…and the hippy dippy weatherman. Many later George Carlin routines went from outrageously funny to just outrageous, cynical, and bitter. The video provides numerous examples.

    Part of the human condition, since before written history, is discontent with the current state-of-affairs. Thus, the proverbial ‘…grass is greener on the other side.’ That discontent is one of many factors that drive us to explore, discover, create, and improve. A prime shinning example is landing man (short for human, humanity, mankind, etc.) on the moon.

    Since it is easier to negatively criticize, tear down, and destroy – it’s hard to take a path requiring more thoughtful effort. Another quote comes in handy to recall from time to time: “It’s difficult to remember you are here to drain the swamp when you’re up to your ass in alligators.” Why you’d want to drain a perfectly good swamp is another story… 🙂


  10. Negentropic

     /  January 13, 2014

    “Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.” ~ William James

    George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Hunter Thompson and even Frank Zappa were always required to keep their politically incorrect ” risqué” humor within the parameters of an underlying Marxist brainwashing they never fully escaped. Almost all “rebellion” and “non-comformity” required for creative work was strictly controlled within the weaponized narratives of history erected in the post WWII years. Outside these parameters no creative work is allowed to succeed on a large scale and enlighten, since by the 1960’s, the demonization of Joseph McCarthy (for whom Eustace Mullins had worked) and all commie-bashers was in full effect and the passage of the individual-rights violating group-rights of civil-rights legislation and forced integration, just as wrong in principle as forced segregation before it, had set the stage for pressure group warfare and dictatorship of the majority opinion enforced through legislation against the individual for many decades to come.

    Any “right-wing” rebellion and non-comformity was either considered “square,” “racist” or framed as “Fascism,” a term that once described a hugely popular patriotic, anti-communist, anti-usury political movement in Europe, but had now become, through non-stop black-propaganda, a literal synonym for “oppressive dictatorship and tyranny.”

    Even the biggest Christian Zionist country star in the world, Johnny Cash, who had a “rebel image” to cultivate, despite never having spent more than one night in jail, was covering songs by left-wingers like Bob Dylan and the Cecil Rhodes scholar, Air-Force Major General’s son Kris Kristofferson, whose song “Me & Bobby McGee” was interpreted both as a country hit and a big hippie anthem of “freedom” sung by Janis Joplin. A few years later, moderately successful country-music pothead Willie Nelson grew his hair out hippie-length, wearing it in braids, American Indian style, and achieved massive and lasting popularity.

    So if you were a John-Wayne-Ronald-Reagan-type republican or pro-Nixon, as a large portion of the American public was, whatever you aspired to be and whatever sense-of-humor or dancing-common-sense you displayed, you just could not possibly expect this cultivated “funniness” of yours to be considered “hip,” since you did not fall within the parameters of “hip.” The unwritten rule, of course, was that a completely un-American, Marxist collectivist ideology had become the real arbiter of “hip,” and only “good and caring humans” were allowed righteous anger and rebellion and free-speech, not “Fascist pigs” and other assorted a-holes. And if you decided to become a maverick comedian of the Carlin and Hicks variety, but as a “right-winger” or even an honest conservative, Libertarian or Anarchist, you certainly would have a hard time figuring out what to satirize on the left without the free-speech mafia coming after you. At best you would end up like that moron Bill Maher and get a limited hang-out show called “Politically Incorrect,” to pretend to stretch the paradigm a bit as some kind of phony “Libertarian.”

    The weirdest mixture of left-&-right-wing schizophrenia is the writer Hunter S. Thompson. It’s hilarious when you realize that Hunter Thompson, this supposed all-American writer with his big gun collection and weapons arsenal, used to go around wearing Che Guevara shirts. lol

    However, fear not, rebels, “truthers” and non-comformists, all is not lost, because beyond all of the icons of Marxist ideology who never heard the word “usury,” as if it was of no importance whatever, there was always Charles Bukowski, more brutally honest and doomed than all of them and often funnier as well.

    The first few chapters of Bukowski’s “Post Office” contain the funniest writing I’ve ever read, the events and situations described building up to a universe of such farcical design that it’s hard to imagine any possible heroism or subsequent tragedy to have ever existed within it. Some sections of “Factotum” and “Ham on Rye” aren’t far behind. A fiercely independent writer who lived for many decades as an alcoholic and close to destitution, Bukowski was rarely trapped in simplistic paradigms and narratives. He did not like any of the leftist “Beat” writers he was sometimes thrown in with. Not only that, but being of German heritage, he had been pro-German all through high-school, in opposition to the massive anti-German propaganda that was already spreading far-and-wide in the post-Judea-declares-War-on-Germany-1933 depression-addled USA of the 1930’s. Bukowksi’s favorite writer was the pro-Hitler French black-satirist Louis Ferdinand Celine, who wrote one of the most famous and original novels of the 20th century in 1932 called: “Journey to the End of the Night,” and before he was exiled from France for “collaboration” after WWII, was idolized by the same Marxist/Communist, Che-Guevara-Mao-Stalin-promoting philosophical team of Jean-Paul Sartre & Simone De Beauvoir who subsequently openly declared their following opinion of the character and conduct of the “evil,” “Fascist,” “Notsee” Germanic occupiers in France, the same people the “heroic” resistance was supposedly fighting against:


    “It was only in the course of those nights that I discovered the true meaning of the word party,” was how de Beauvoir put it. Sartre was no less enthusiastic: “Never were we as free as under the German occupation.”

    De Beauvoir wrote about the “quite spontaneous friendliness” of the conquerors: she was as fascinated as any by the German “cult of the body” and their penchant for exercising in nothing but gym shorts.

    From The Sunday Times

    May 25, 2008

    Paris during Nazi occupation was ‘one big romp’

    Matthew Campbell in Paris

    Albert Speer, who headed German war production, was asked after the war about the effect of the French Resistance. He replied, “What French Resistance?”


    “Dad always said that he had enough trouble sorting the fiction out of so-called facts, without reading fiction. He always said that science was already too muddled without trying to make it jibe with religion. He said those things, but he also said that science itself could be a religion, that a broad mind was always in danger of becoming narrow.”
    ― Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me


  11. Thank you Clint for your truth telling once more. Light and love M


  12. THX1138

     /  January 15, 2014

    A very good analysis, Clint.

    Carlin and Hicks brought me The Big Electron, for which I am eternally grateful.

    I recommend you listen carefully (twice) to this: ▶ George Carlin – National Press Club [complete] – YouTube and find out even more detail about Carlin from his own mouth.


  13. Drake

     /  January 19, 2014

    Everyone is stupid and guaranteed to fail, they don’t really care but are selfish greedy and lazy. He is an elitist cheer leader. What the common man wants is irrelevant petty and unobtainable. He likes abortion and the extermination of humanity. He doesn’t care about any human cause and dismisses those who hope for a better world as fools worthy of ridicule. So if your an “owner” you would really like him too. I appreciate his critical thinking about the misuse of language and his emphasis on a sort of inequality or class struggle but it never seemed to me he was cheering for the little guy. Was there a social movement or institution he wasn’t skeptical of? Did he leave us any hope or point us to any solutions?
    I think he would have been better friends with Aldous Huxley than Mark Twain. The message is shut up and take the Prozac cause the bomb is coming. He is an agent for the psychology of tension. He is not a messenger of truth because people are not all stupid – they have been deceived by PR and TV. I think there is hope, we are creatures of family and friends many with a vision for a better world and caring is not foolhardy.
    If there is one thing he contributed it is that it is not OK to give lip service to ideas that you don’t understand and follow people that don’t make sense. I don’t know everything he’s said but he encouraged people to be critical especially of the television. One thing I learned from him is that politically correct language is not a substitute for political change. It is nice to believe that a true man of the people could exist in the public square without being “discredited” but I’m skeptical. – Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu Jamal, Judi Bari, Huey Newton, Ward Churchill, the numerous strikers, picketers and protesters arrested at huge gatherings that did not make the news. Do we know any famous Weathermen?


  14. Jim Gillespie

     /  May 18, 2014

    Good article. I loved George Carlin also and I’m glad I got to see him perform live one time before he died. I wanted to pass along one additional piece of information…I heard George say in an interview once that Las Vegas audiences are different than other audiences. When you’re performing in Vegas the people coming to see you oftentimes aren’t your biggest fans. They arrive in Las Vegas and they want to see a show, and they choose the one that seems like the best one available in the moment. Or they may even choose the show because it’s the one that’s playing in their own hotel. So the reactions from the audience in Las Vegas will be different than in other cities where the performer’s biggest fans are the ones buying the tickets and driving to the arena.


  15. Pete

     /  March 29, 2015

    Carlin was just another pathetic entertainment-tool who had to do a nasty initiation ceremony for the blackmail camera (Selling your soul). If he was a rebel you would have never heard of him.

    I guess he became a bitter old moron because he realized that he and his “1968/Against THE MAN” stuff was actually as THE MAN! as it gets.


  16. michael

     /  August 7, 2015

    Imagine that. The fascist government has deleted the video!


  17. bon

     /  May 2, 2016

    Dudes not funny and his “hyper-reality” is actually just an agry rant. You can give logical arguments to almost all the points he makes. You just reluctantly agree with him because he makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s the same reason you gave the nervous laughter. Go the next step and think for yourself


    • Yes, my angry and unnecessarily asinine friend… The point is that he is not funny but quite serious, never laughing at himself as he wages verbal war on our comfortable sensibilities. And yes he is angry at the false reality we allow ourselves to succumb to, of which he eloquently describes with the mistaken hilarity of his audiences. However, his political “arguments” as you call them are purely a diatribe of infallible logic, so your incomplete thought here really makes no sense, unless your own logic (dialectic) is considerably false. To agree with the self-evident Truth is sort of a redundancy, I’m afraid, as that which exists without mine or your opinions or acceptance. The point of his “angry rant(s)” is certainly not to make us feel comfortable, that at least you got right. Congrats. But this term “reluctant agree(ment)” implies some contractual or forced commitment, which makes no logical sense despite your self-proclaimed logical disposition here. Nervous laughter… not sure what this is a reference to, but it appears you are just being a prick about some interview I did? Or perhaps you are referring to the nervous laughter given to Carlin by his audience members when he makes us “uncomfortable” and nervous? Again, that’s the point. But how can I know what you mean with such short, cutting, worthless comments? So your efforts here are both unreasonable as compared to this post and wholly incomplete in their expression of anything useful to the reader or myself.

      If you have anything useful, spiritual, helpful, or even nice to say then by all means contribute. Otherwise, kindly piss off!

      How’s that for thinking for myself?



  18. Andrew Hahn

     /  October 27, 2017

    And also remember the late great Lenny Bruce!

    Love your work! Thank you very much. Much appreciated!


  19. Shelby

     /  November 27, 2020

    George Carlin – meet who he really was


  20. George was awesome and he definitely made people uncomfortable.


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