My first George Carlin record was "A Place for my Stuff." My aunt gave it to me, a copy of her own on a blue cassette, with neatly written labels. I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever heard and I quoted the thing so much my aunt threatened to take the tape away.
Other records followed, along with movies, a t.v. show, and the occasional book, but the highlight for me was seeing him live. Carlin made a one night appearance in my crappy little hometown on a tour supporting his latest HBO special. He pulled no punches, giving us, the audience, all the greatest hits we had wanted plus the new material plus a few localized digs. He talked on stage for the better part of 90 minutes and I loved it.
I went with my mom and I was a little embarrassed to be there with her; I couldn't look at her during some of the raunchier bits, but I knew she was laughing just as hard as I was and was also unable to look at me. I really liked that. I liked knowing that my mom's sense of humor was just as twisted as mine and that she was as shy about it.
Ah well, time gets us all.
His energy, his voice, his curmudgeonly charisma – he was one of my heroes.