If there's one person that is sorely missed from our television and movie screens these days, it's definitely the late, great George Carlin. The irreverent stand-up comedian, actor, and writer (who passed away in 2008 at the age of 71) was never one to shy away from controversy. From his infamous "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" routine and politically-charged TV specials, to his outspoken criticism of the establishment and roles in contentious films like "Dogma," Carlin made no secret of his opinions.
But whatever you thought of the man's politics or beliefs, the fact remains that Carlin was a very funny and very memorable guy. When he wasn't stirring the political pot with his comedy, he could be found in roles like that of the time-travelling Rufus in the "Bill & Ted" movies or as the kindly Mr. Conductor on the children's show "Shining Time Station." He also had the distinction of being the very first host of "Saturday Night Live" back in 1978 and in 2004 he was voted one of the greatest stand-ups of all time.
It's that kind of varied career that made Carlin stand out, both to his fans and to the people he worked with. One of those collaborators was "Dogma" director Kevin Smith, who worked with Carlin several times and described the comedian as "the smartest man I ever met." Smith's admiration and fondness for the man is evident in several recent Facebook posts made by the filmmaker. The "Red State" director has decided to call every Wednesday "George Carlin Day" on his official Facebook page, sharing photos and stories about his interactions with Carlin midweek.
In one touching anecdote, Smith describes his first meeting with Carlin and how the comedian became involved with "Dogma" shortly after the untimely death of his wife.
"He'd already read 'Dogma' and we were grabbing lunch to talk about whether or not he wanted to be in it. He said he was into it but had one request," Smith recalls. "George asked if Cardinal Glick could have a bandage on his finger, which would hide George Carlin's wedding band. Because, he said, he wasn't ready to take it off just yet."
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In another story, Smith talks about Carlin's brief (and hilarious) appearance in his 2001 film "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." Carlin played a crotchety old hitchhiker who provided sexual favours in exchange for rides and who schooled Jay and Silent Bob in the rules of the "unwritten book of the road." Being a working stand up comedian, Carlin of course had a very limited window in which he could film his role. However, after Smith shot all of Carlin's dialogue, instead of leaving, Carlin stuck around (and likely missed his plane) so that he could provide off-screen dialogue for Smith and actor Jason Mewes.
"'You guys were there for ME, I'm gonna be there for YOU,'" Smith quotes Carlin as saying.
Smith paints a picture of Carlin as a humble performer and a total class act, and we can't wait to read more of his "George Carlin Day" stories.
See a clip of George Carlin as the "progressive" Cardinal Glick in Smith's film "Dogma" below.