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George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, author, and social critic.
Carlin was noted for his black comedy and reflections on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. He and his "seven dirty words" comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a 5–4 decision affirmed the government's power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves. He is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comics; one newspaper called Carlin "the dean of counterculture comedians". In April 2004, he placed second on the Comedy Central list of "Top 10 Comedians of US Audiences".
The first of Carlin's 14 stand-up comedy specials for HBO was filmed in 1977. From the late 1980s, Carlin's routines focused on sociocultural criticism of American society. He often commented on contemporary political issues in the United States and satirized the excesses of American culture. He was a frequent performer and guest host on The Tonight Show during the three-decade Johnny Carson era, and hosted the first episode of Saturday Night Live in 1975. His final HBO special, It's Bad for Ya, was filmed less than four months before his death. In 2008, he was posthumously awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. In 2017, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him second (behind Richard Pryor) on its list of the 50 best stand-up comics of all time.
Brenda Carlin, TV producer and wife of comedian George Carlin for 36 years, died in Santa Monica on Sunday of complications from liver cancer. She was 57.
Carlin, who married her husband in 1961, helped build his early career and served as line producer on most of his early HBO performances, including “Carlin at Carnegie” and “Carlin on Campus.”
Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, Carlin was active in cable production, freelancing as an HBO talent coordinator on 17 comedy specials. She is credited with helping discover standup talents including Garry Shandling, Paul Reubens (aka Pee-wee Herman), Harry Anderson and Howie Mandel.