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Encore: Remembering George Carlin

Aired June 29, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the stand-up who crossed the line.

GEORGE CARLIN: Why is it that most of the people who are against abortion are people you wouldn't want in the first place?


KING: The comic who redefined funny.


CARLIN: We've got more places than we've got stuff. We're going to have to buy more stuff.


KING: The performer who was fearless.


CARLIN: If I could reach, I'd never leave the house, man.

Are you kidding me?


KING: Jerry "Seinfeld," Bill Maher, Roseanne Barr, Lewis Black, Hugh Hefner and family pay tribute to the man whose act made it all the way to the Supreme Court. Tonight, seven words you can say on television. George Carlin, this show is for you, friend.


CARLIN: When there's nothing left to conquer in your field, hey, it's time to leave.



George Carlin is dead of a heart attack at age 71 -- the comic actor and best-selling author. It's hard to believe.

Jerry Seinfeld is our first guest tonight.

He has written an op-ed on George Carlin that will appear in tomorrow's "New York Times."

What are you saying in it, Jerry?

JERRY SEINFELD: I'm talking about how, you know, how when I was a little kid -- you know, the way he would -- he had a way of speaking that was almost like he was reading you a story. You know, there was an exaggerated kind of excitement. He had this incredible enthusiasm whenever he performed.

And when I was a kid, it really got me very excited about comedy to listen to the way he worked. And I mean but that was just the beginning of what he meant to comedians for all these years. He's -- he's one of the Mount Rushmore guys in our profession.

KING: You told me you spoke to him a couple days ago?

SEINFELD: I did. I called him a few days ago. And we were actually joking about death which, like when I woke up this morning and I got this news, it really, really threw me. And we were kidding about how, you know, they kind of come in groups. It was like Bo Diddley and Tim Russert. And he was saying how I feel safe now for a little while because, you know, there should be a lull before they come after the next person.

So it was very bizarre to me that we talked about this just a couple days ago and then it happened.

KING: Jerry, no one is more expert at monologue than you.

What made Carlin so exceptional?

SEINFELD: Oh, God. Well, precision. He had tremendous precision in his word choices. And he was a brilliant writer, a brilliant performer. He was the total package of what a comedian's skills should be. He literally could train his eye on something very kind of mundane and regular -- he could talk about couch pillow or he could take on, you know, abortion or politics or religion. So there was no subject that his mind was not able to dissect and make fun. It was...

KING: When he guested...

SEINFELD: He had an amazing breadth of subject matter.

KING: When he guested with us in 2001, classic Carlin.

Watch a little here.


CARLIN: I think Americans are something -- you hear politicians say this. They love to roll this one out a couple times a week. The American people are a lot smarter than they're given credit for. And I think it's exactly the opposite. They're a lot stupider than they're given credit for. They really are. You know, you just look at them on the street, you say, jeez.


CARLIN: You know, and the stuff they do, the stuff they buy, all they care about is getting a salad shooter, getting sneakers with lights in them. That's a big thing. Somebody got a jet ski. Oh, I've got to get a jet ski. It's dumb.

They're going to -- sooner or later, people are going to be born in this country -- you're going to have a bar code. They tattoo a bar code on your arm when you're born and maybe put a chip in your head and track you your whole life. I'll bet you they -- I'll bet you you could get your kid, you sell a logo to tattoo on his forehead -- $50,000 for your college education, Coca-Cola, it comes off in 20 years.


CARLIN: You know, it just fades away. I'll bet you they could do it. You could sell -- you know what you could probably sell in this country?

Fried chicken heads -- just heads, because they will buy it.


CARLIN: They would say, well, how much is that?

A dollar.

Oh, get two. Get one for me. People are stupid. They don't -- they don't...


CARLIN: No, they don't think about anything.


KING: Why did he upset so many people?

SEINFELD: Because he really didn't care, you know, if it was going to rub anybody the wrong way. If he thought it was funny and he thought it made -- if it made sense to him, he was going to say -- you know, I used to love this routine he would do about how whenever the UFO people come on television, everyone in this studio audience laughs at them. But when they talk about religion and the man in the sky with the white beard and the robe, everyone is very reverently and which one is really more absurd?

And, you know, obviously, that's going to get, you know, religious people upset.

KING: Yes.

SEINFELD: But it's a very funny observation.

KING: He was... SEINFELD: He didn't have much respect for religion.

KING: No, I know. He was more than a bit salty in the famous "Seven Words You Can't Say On Television," which may be his epitaph.

Is that sad if that's his epitaph?

SEINFELD: I think it is, because I think that was one of -- it was certainly one of the simplest bits that he ever did and, to me, not really representative of the quality of his work. I mean he was much deeper and more thoughtful than that.

KING: On October 11th, 1975, George Carlin hosted the first episode of "Saturday Night Live" and he brilliantly dissected the differences between baseball and football.



CARLIN: Football is rigidly timed. Baseball has no time limit. We don't know when it's going to end.


CARLIN: We might even have extra innings.

In football, you get a penalty. In baseball, you make an error. Whoops. The object in football is to march downfield and penetrate enemy territory and get into the end zone. In baseball, the object is to go home.


CARLIN: I'm going home.


KING: He wrote all his own material, did he not, Jerry?

SEINFELD: Oh, yes. You know, that's a classic piece of material.

KING: It's great.

SEINFELD: I mean the first guy to see the militarism of football and kind of the 19th century, you know, warmth and rural nature of baseball. I mean that was just brilliant.

KING: Brilliant.

More from Jerry...

SEINFELD: And, you know, he was funny with his face and his body was funny. Everything about him was funny.

KING: Very important -- the moves, not just what he said, but the way he stalked the stage.

SEINFELD: Um-hmm. Everything. Yes, he really inhabited the -- when he was talking, it was like his whole body was -- would reflect the idea. You know, he would shrink and he would grow and his face was very rubbery. I mean, he was funny even if you couldn't hear the words.

KING: More from Jerry about George when LARRY KING LIVE returns.



CARLIN: I'd like to start with a list of people I can do without. A proctologist with poor depth perception. Any woman whose hobby is breastfeeding zoo animals. A cross-eyed nun with a bullwhip and bottle of gin. A waitress with a visible infection on her serving hand. And any man whose arm hair completely covers his wristwatch.


CARLIN: OK. That's enough of that.


KING: That's wild and it's salty and it's crazy, but it's brilliant, isn't it, Jerry?

It's brilliant.

SEINFELD: I just can't believe he's gone. I just -- it's...

KING: Yes.

SEINFELD: Oh, God I just -- it's been a -- it's been a horrible day.

KING: He had a lot of heart problems, you know, through the years.

Were you aware of that?


KING: Yes?


But who dies at 70 anymore?

It's so old-fashioned.

KING: I know.

SEINFELD: That's like from the '60s...

KING: Yes, well put...

SEINFELD: ...people did that. Nobody does that anymore.

KING: But you talked about it. Yet you talked about it. That's incredible.

SEINFELD: Yes, we were just talking about it. And he was joking -- he was saying how he felt safe because -- he says I like to get on airlines that just had a crash, because it improves the odds that it won't have another crash right away. And we were laughing and -- you know, it was crazy. But...

KING: Yes.

During that 2001 appearance on our show, he gave us a sense of how he works with material.



CARLIN: I -- I have three things I draw from, always have. The English language, like it takes the cake thing. I love inspecting -- taking apart language, things we say, trendy talks, sometimes old sayings, whatever. And then the little world, the kind of world Jerry Seinfeld investigated to a great high level -- what's in the icebox, how you drive, your pets...

KING: Everyday life.

CARLIN: The things in your life. Yes, the things we all know. And then the -- what I call the big issues but not topical, not political in the small sense. Genocide is good; love, you know; hatred; people dying; people getting killed; race.

KING: War.


KING: Sports.

CARLIN: Anything that is stuff that will never be solved.


KING: A nice compliment to you, Jerry.

SEINFELD: Yes. That was very nice. I'm sorry I missed that show, Larry.

KING: Yes.

SEINFELD: You had him here, yes.

KING: We have an e-mail question from Bill in Slidell, Louisiana: "Why is it that so many Americans"... SEINFELD: Finally.

KING: " -- seem content to listen to lying politicians with clean vocabularies but get upset by a truth-telling comic who uses dirty words?"

SEINFELD: Wow! That's a heavy one. I think because it's easier to attack the comedian because, you know, they're not supposed to be leading us in any way. You know, the politicians, I think -- you know, I don't know. That's a crazy question.

Why is it easier -- what do -- what do they want to know?

KING: Well, what he wants to know is...

SEINFELD: Why is it easy -- why are people more uncomfortable with the comedian than the politician?

KING: No, we seem content...

SEINFELD: Politicians have -- are smoother.

KING: listen to a lying politician than a comedian who might use a dirty word.

Why would -- does the comedian with the dirty word...

SEINFELD: Well, because we don't understand what the politician is saying. We don't understand what the politician is saying. We don't know what's the truth and what the lie is. The comedian comes out and tells you what he really thinks and it's clear. Comedians have to be clear. They can't be vague like political figures.

KING: Good point.

SEINFELD: So you know exactly where they stand and it's easier to disagree with it.

KING: Can you say, Jerry, that...

SEINFELD: But it's all about just trying to entertain. Most comedians do not even believe what they're saying. Most -- I tell jokes about my wife, about my family that aren't even true. And this is -- this is, you know, centuries old. Comedy is really not about the truth. It's about a seed of truth and then a lot of lies spun around it.

KING: Yes.

And how do you know, when you're preparing materials -- now, this is uncanny in a way -- how do you know what's funny?

SEINFELD: You don't really. That's another thing we were -- George and I were talking about. I was saying how, you know, you write and you write and then you just start to wonder, I don't know if this is any good. I have to get up in front of an audience to find out if this is any good.

And he was saying the same thing, you know, that he just -- you just always have to try things. And the audience kind of writes the act for you, in a way. They say keep this, get rid of that and you use them as the kind of a judge.

KING: Do you have...

SEINFELD: I mean they are the judge.

KING: Did George Carlin and Jerry Seinfeld, do you have an edge when you go on stage because you were George Carlin or you are Jerry Seinfeld?

Are they going to laugh because of who you are?

SEINFELD: A little bit, sure.

I mean if people come to see you, obviously they like what you do. That's an advantage. I mean that's called a fan. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. But, you know, shows still vary. I mean you still have to be funny. I mean laughter is an involuntary response. Nobody laughs at a reputation. So there's a slight advantage, but it's not a big one.

KING: How are we going to remember George Carlin, Jerry?

SEINFELD: I think comedians will remember him for the volume of quality material that he did. There's a lot of great comedians that, I don't know, maybe they wrote an hour or two. This guy did 14 HBO specials -- 14. I've done two. And, you know, very few comedians do more than three or four -- I mean, plus the books. And I mean he was a very dedicated, energetic, incredibly fertile person.

I don't think we'll ever see someone who, in their lifetime, creates as much comedy as this man did. He's absolutely one of the untouchable giants of stand-up comedy.

SEINFELD: Thank you for joining us, Jerry.

We really appreciate it.

SEINFELD: Thank you, Larry.

Good to see you.

KING: The same here.

Robin Williams wanted us to use his statement in its entirety. Here goes: "George Carlin was the living embodiment of the First Amendment. In the traditions of Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift, he dealt with the insanity of the world with one-two punch of humor and honesty and no apologies. He was one funny mother blank."

Well, we almost read it in its entirety.

We thank Jerry Seinfeld.

By the way, the Mark Twain Prize this year was awarded to George Carlin. It was just announced the other day. There'll be a special presentation at the Kennedy Center in his honor.

Bill Maher is next.


CARLIN: I figured I'd stay. I think I've had my share.

Why should I be hogging all the really nice ones?

Let somebody else have a few. Of course, everybody still wants me to have one. Everybody wants me to have a nice day.

Have a nice day. Yes, yes, yes. You want to give me my (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED) change, please?

I'm triple parked.





CARLIN: People who pay for inexpensive items with a credit card. You know, folks, take my word for this, Raisinets is not a major purchase. Get some (EXPLETIVE LANGUAGE) cash together. No one should be paying the bank 18 percent interest on Tic Tacs.


CARLIN: And you're holding up the (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED) line, too. Some dorky looking prick with a fanny pack waiting to be approved for bag of Cheese Doodles.


CARLIN: The next guy ahead of me on line who pays for "Newsweek" with a credit car is getting stabbed in the eyes.


KING: That's funny.

Bill Maher is also funny. He's our next guest -- comic, best- selling author, host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," which returns August 22nd. And producer and star of the upcoming documentary that I'll bet George Carlin would have loved, "Religilous."

How did you react when you heard of this? BILL MAHER: Shocked. I guess I shouldn't have been because I know he was in failing health. But he was so immortal to me. I still can hardly believe it.

But I was -- you know, they showed my HBO special last night, which seemed odd. I didn't think about it at the time. But when I got up this morning, I was like -- because it's a year old.

So why -- you know, why would they be showing a special that's a year -- once in a while they rerun them. But it just struck me as spooky that there it was. I watched a few minutes of it just to see if it was holding up, you know, because material sometimes dates from a year ago.

And that's the first thing I thought was whoa. And, also, I had been talking about George Carlin in every interview I've done lately, because people are talking about the movie, because it comes out in October. We're starting to do interviews. And I wanted to make sure to always give George his credit as the guy -- the only guy who talked about religion before, you know, where I got my courage to do it.

KING: Why did he upset so many people?

MAHER: Well, that's one reason why, he just didn't care who he upset, especially the older he got -- not that he was ever timid. But I loved him the older he got. He just more and more was like I'm old, no one can say anything to me

KING: What are you going to do to me?

MAHER: What are you going to do to me?


MAHER: He would go after, you know, poor people, fat people, you know, just the average American. He had this disdain...

KING: Speaking of...

MAHER: ...and he didn't hide it.

KING: Speaking of religion, Bill Maher is going to have a movie coming in October, as we told you, "Religiousless."

Here's George Carlin with a couple words about religion.


CARLIN: Well, atheism is a belief. So I don't -- I'm not an atheist, because that's something you have to believe in.

KING: An atheist also makes a definitive statement. There is none.


KING: What are you, an agnostic?

CARLIN: Not -- well, you know, somebody would define me that way, but I don't think it's important enough to know the distinction.

KING: What do you call yourself?

CARLIN: I'm just a person who thinks some day you could find out. And I would know that whoever was there judging me -- and I'm sure there's no one like that. But if there was someone judging me, then I'd be fine. So I don't even think about it or worry.

You know what my brother calls it, the big electron. Just the big electron. Something's humming. That's all you need is a good hum. A good hum -- I don't mean, you know, the bad kind. I mean just a good hum. Yes.

And so I think Jesus probably lived. He was probably an alive guy. But -- I've an interview with him in my book, by the way. You want to read that, because he tells everything. You know, they ask him is there a heaven. He says not only is there a heaven, we've got a heck -- heck and hell.

KING: Heaven, heck and hell?


KING: What's heck?

CARLIN: Heck is not as bad as hell.


CARLIN: It's similar.


MAHER: You know, I bet you if he was here now, what he would be saying is, why do people say nice things when you die?

That's the stupidest thing to do.

They can't hear you, you know?

I mean he would be the one guy who would be taking issue with us all heaping praise upon him...


MAHER: ...just because I'm dead, you know?

KING: Was he, in a sense, a role model to you, Bill?

I mean what did he represent to you?

MAHER: More than anyone. More than any...

KING: Really?

MAHER: Absolutely. And, look, I've said this many times, when I was a kid starting out, there was not many young comedians, hip comedians. I still -- you were saying right before we went on the air, you said you're too young to remember Carlin on "Ed Sullivan." And absolutely not.

KING: Lenny Bruce had a major effect on Carlin. That turns (INAUDIBLE).

MAHER: Well, I miss Lenny Bruce. And I still don't listen to him and I don't find him funny. I find him groundbreaking and I think he paved the way for a lot of people, including myself. But George Carlin was funny, like laugh out loud hurt your gut kind of funny.

And when I was a kid looking at comedy for the first time, George Carlin, when we first saw him, was on Ed Sullivan with a skinny guy. You remember that George Carlin.

KING: Sure.

MAHER: He was the clean-cut guy with clean material. Then he put out an album in 1971 called "AM" and "FM." "AM" was the A side of the album. That was the old George Carlin -- clean suit. "FM" was the new George Carlin -- long hair, t-shirt, hippie, dirty material.

KING: There's the young (INAUDIBLE).

MAHER: Yes. This was -- to someone like me, this was the holy grail. This was the guy saying I've shed that skin. I'm not the old, clean guy. I'm going to take this in a different direction.

This is why this man is, to me, on the top of the mountain, because he's the most fearless and he changed where comedy went.

KING: Here's George on those seven dirty words you can't say on television.



CARLIN: I decided I would take a look at which ones you could never say. Because some of them you could say, like bitch. You could talk about a dog. You could say well the bitch is in this litter, the bitch and so forth. Or you could talk and you could say bastard -- William -- William the Conqueror was a bastard. But certain words, never.

KING: Right.

CARLIN: And I wanted to know what they were and I figured out the seven of them and I threw them out in a nice package. And they had rhythm -- it had a rhythm to it.

KING: And radio stations couldn't play it. CARLIN: Radio stations -- some did play it. And what happened was a station in New York played it and the FCC -- one complaint, New York City. Probably 25 million radios -- 25 million radios, one complaint, a professional moralist, a guy from Morals in Media...


CARLIN: ...with his son in the car. He let -- and he let the son listen. Apparently, they were not morally corrupted by this act.

And in 1978, the Supreme Court said 5-4 these words were indecent. They made up a whole new category of filth for me. It wasn't obscene, indecent. And they said you can't play it when kids might listen.


KING: That's the rule. After 10:00 at night, you can play it.

Steve Martin had this to say: "George Carlin has been a major force in comedy since the 1960s. There will be no substitute for his insight nor his tireless and hilarious attacks on the enfranchised. No matter how angry and affronted he was, he never forget to be funny. George Carlin was a comedy hero."

More Bill Maher, more laughs ahead, as our tribute to George Carlin continues.



CARLIN: That's all you house is. It's a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff. Now, sometimes, sometimes you've got move. You've got to get a bigger house. Why? Too much stuff.

Did you ever notice when you go to somebody else's house, you never quite feel 100 percent at home. You know why? No room for your stuff. Somebody else's stuff is all over the place. And what awful stuff it is. Have you noticed that their stuff ain't (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is stuff.


KING: We want to hear from you about George Carlin. Go to our website,, and take our quick vote. It asks how George made you laugh. That's Bill Maher is our guest. Where do you put him in the picture of comedy?

MAHER: I'm telling you, for me there's nobody higher. Look, there's many ways to get a laugh. To me, this is the highest way. It's also saying something. If you took the jokes out of his act, it would still be a very interesting speech that made you think. Lots of laugh getters.

KING: It could be a lecturer.

MAHER: It's just about the laugh. It's a confection, an ice- cream cone. You forget it as soon as you leave the building. Not him, I mean this tough stays with us. That routine you were playing; he was the best of anybody about skewering America on its materialism. He loved to get into that subject and he was so right because that's what the country is.

KING: Here he is guesting with us in 1997. Insight into a great man. Watch.


CARLIN: I don't buy the whole humanity thing. I don't buy the species. I don't believe in my species. I don't believe in my country. I don't believe in religion. I don't believe in government. I don't believe in big business. I think it's a game. I think it's a racket and a game and a con. I enjoy not caring about things, because it gives me a detachment, gives me a separation. I see a lot of political comics, they seem to believe, there's hope if only we do this. I don't believe that.

KING: There's no hope?

CARLIN: I really think there isn't. I think we're so attached to goods, to buying things, to having things, to acquiring things, get a better job, two incomes, now they have volunteerism. Not only do they have people working two jobs, they want you to go do something for free.


KING: You just mentioned that, materialism.

MAHER: It came up a lot. He had themes that ran through his shows. It is what I emulate. I try to do a show that if you took the jokes out of it, it would still be an interesting speech that made you think. That's where that comes from.

KING: You're a professional. He'd write all his own. How did he remember it all? He's so fast.

MAHER: I think it's because he worked all the time. He was always on the road. I know because we tried to book him. It's funny, he was booked on our show, for the last show of the season; I purposely saved him for last because I think he's the best. It was supposed to go on in November. It was our last show the season before this. And it's the show we lost to the writer's strike. That was going be my last time to sit with him.

KING: The patter that he remembered, I always watch him and say, an hour and half he'd do and he'd remember every bored.

MAHER: Right, I think it's because, first of all, it was what he loved. I think he died a happy man. I know it's a sad day and I'm certainly extremely sad to see him go. But he had a great life. He did what he loved and he worked on it constantly. His whole life was gathering material. He was always assembling and noticing. He had four computers, you know, and he would log stuff away. And he would salt it here and put it there. And then he would go on the road and he would meticulously -- he very often had those routines that were like list, long lists and he would just rattle them off and off.

It was a performance. It was above what the rest of us are doing, which is just speaking. It was a performance art as comedy. It's amazing. I think he just loved -- he did it everyday. He couldn't stop doing it everyday. I think it's what he liked to do everyday, like somebody that likes to build a little ship in a bottle, that was his ship in a bottle.

KING: The baseball-football routine. Great routing, brilliant.

MAHER: True routine, hunks we used to call them in comedy.

KING: It's interesting. I had no idea you had such reference for him in all the times I know you.

MAHER: It's especially on my mind now with the religion thing because, truly, he is the only person who ever talked about that subject in that way.

KING: Your movie comes out in?

MAHER: October 3rd.

KING: "Religiousless."


KING: Bill is going to stay here. Bill's not going anywhere. Lewis Black and Roseanne Barr joins us next.



CARLIN: This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free. Am I right? A group of slave owners who wanted to be free, so they killed a lot of white English people in order to continue owning their black African people, so they could wipe out the rest of the red Indian people and move west and steal the rest of the land from the Brown Mexican people, giving them a place to take off and drop their nuclear weapons on the yellow Japanese people. You know what the motto -- you know what the motto of this country ought to be? You give us a color, we'll wipe it out.


KING: George Carlin is gone. Bill Maher remains with us here in Los Angeles. In Middletown, California is Lewis Black, the comic, actor and writer, with us the other night. The cover of his latest "New York Times" best selling book, "Me of Little Faith, includes a blurb from George Carlin. And in Las Vegas, old friend Roseanne Barr, comic, actress and author. She's now performing at the Sahara Casino.

Lewis, I understand you got a message on your answering machine from George Carlin?

LEWIS BLACK, COMIC: Very -- when I was not very well-known and was really still struggling and living in a five floor walk-up in New York, I got a message from George. I didn't know him. He called me and said -- he said, listen, Lewis, this is George Carlin. First, let me tell you, there's nothing I can do for your career. And then he went on to say he'd heard my stuff and he really liked it and I made him laugh. If I had any things to send it to him, because he had friends who liked to laugh. That was what he could do. That alone really was for me, it was huge, absolutely huge. It shut my mother up.

KING: Roseanne, did you know him?

ROSEANNE BARR, COMEDIAN, ACTRESS: I knew him a little bit. You know, I went to see him a few times, and I also interviewed him on my talk show in 1998. And I had a great talk with him then. I saw him a few times after that, too.

KING: What to you made him special?

BARR: I think it was the substance of the things that he said. I mean, he really, you know, tipped over every sacred cow. He told the American people exactly the truth about themselves and their country and everything else. He was fearless and always, like, spoke the truth to power and to everybody else. He did it with just such great technical skill and theatrics. He was like nobody else. But I think the things that he said and the guts he had to say them, it was just, you know, breath-taking.

KING: He was fearless, right, Bill?

MAHER: The most, the most fearless guy I've ever seen. Even more at the end, his last special -- he did one only about a year ago or maybe less. I remember when I turned off the TV, after watching it, I was like, damn, he's still ahead of me. That's the rabbit. That's what I'm chasing.

KING: What did he mean to you, Lewis?

BLACK: I think the thing Bill just said, that last special was astonishing. He went into dark corners that I was like left breathless. I went wow, I've never seen any comic deal on that level and go that far. It was like, in a sense, that kind of culmination of his career, when you look back on it. At the time, I thought, where does he go next?

KING: Well put. Bill Maher, Lewis Black, Roseanne Barr with us until the top of the hour. And we'll have some of the late George -- hate to say that -- late George Carlin's relatives joining us as well. His daughter and brother will join us after the break. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: On the phone here in Los Angeles is Kelly Carlin McCall, George's daughter, and in Woodstock, New York is Patrick Carlin, George Carlin's older brother. Kelly, were you with your dad when he died?

KELLY CARLIN MCCALL, DAUGHTER OF GEORGE CARLIN: No, I wasn't. I was in Hawaii with some friends. It happened so quickly that even if I was here in L.A., I don't know if I even would have made it.

KING: You flew right home?

MCCALL: I did. I flew home overnight.

KING: Was he ill?

MCCALL: As everyone knows, he had a history of heart disease. In the last two years, it had become apparent that he had the preliminary stages of congestive heart failure, which means the pumping of the heart doesn't work as well. They had got it to a good place and I guess he had symptoms in the last few weeks and things went pretty bad.

KING: When was the last time you spoke to him?

MCCALL: I spoke to him last Thursday. I was in Hawaii and we had a great conversation.

KING: Were you a close father-daughter?

MCCALL: I am an only child. And, yes, we were very close and shared humor and life experience and time, you know, the skewed look at the world that he looked at it that way.

KING: What kind of dad was he?

MCCALL: He was a great dad. As most people know from his public life, he had a history of drug and alcohol addiction, as my mother did when I was younger. He was an incredible father, who always made sure to teach me about the real big truths of the world, and to -- you know, about loving people and respecting people and fighting for the underdog, speaking your truth, and loving every human that you encounter. That's one thing that -- you know, people see him on stage in his stage persona and his grumpiness and crotchetiness; yet, he was the kindest, most generous, incredible man when it came to meeting people one-on-one and knowing people.

KING: Patrick, how did you learn of your brother's death?

PATRICK CARLIN, BROTHER OF GEORGE CARLIN: My beautiful son, Dennis, called me, in retrospect, although it really upset me, I said I wouldn't have wanted to hear it from anyone other than my boy, Dennis, who had a very close relationship with his Uncle George.

KING: You're the older brother?

P. CARLIN: I'm the older brother, yes. KING: Were you close?

P. CARLIN: Like two peas in a pod, man. Close from the day -- I got to do the whole 71 years with him. I remember when they brought him home from the hospital. I was goofing -- we were having fun together on the e-mail. He sent me a whole thing of smokey stouffer (ph) funny things with (INAUDIBLE) stuff in it. We used to like to talk about stuff from the olden days together, like he'd say a word that would trigger something to me.

KING: What do you do, Patrick?

P. CARLIN: I'm up here in Woodstock, living in the woods, you know.

KING: What did you do in your active life?

P. CARLIN: I did a lot of different things, thanks to George. I was a salesman, but I bounced from car joint to car joint. I was just a floater.

KING: What kind of brother was he?

P. CARLIN: Can I just tell you, he was the most terrific brother in the world. I want to say something. I want to thank everyone who enjoyed George and assure them that he was the most wonderful, beautiful person I've ever known. I'm glad that I got be his brother for 71 years. He was born hip and never stopped growing. As he grew and flourished, he never forgot me, Larry. He never forgot me. And he sure left a beautiful trail across the universe. And I'm going to miss him forever, forever, man.

KING: Kelly, when is the funeral?

MCCALL: We will have a private memorial this weekend. Then in a few weeks, we're going to have a larger public event, where his fans and peers can show up and speak from their hearts.

KING: Will you let us know when and where?

MCCALL: I absolutely will.

KING: That was Kelly Carlin McCall and Patrick Carlin. Here's a toss to Mr. Carlin, who was such a great observer. Here he was my guest in 1990, the subject was groups. Watch.


CARLIN: People are great one at a time. In them, you see all the beauty, all the potential for this species. As soon as they get in groups, Larry, I get scared. Two people even, they change. They say, I like Bob, but not when he's with Linda. Three people, five, ten, they start having hats, little arm bands, slogans and an agenda, stuff they want to do. The bigger the group, the worst it is. Give me people one at a time, and I'm an optimist. Put them in groups of 400 or 10,000 or ten million and I get scared. KING: German might have been all right in World War II.

CARLIN: Hitler was great at parties, they said, and great with children. Put him with a large group in a square, and it was all over.


KING: George's wife, Sally Wade, says this about him, "George Carlin was and always will be the greatest love of my life. We had a meeting of the minds, the heart and the spirit, a big love. He was my soul mate, always will be. Tomorrow is our tenth anniversary. It was the best ten years of my life. It's quite a shock right now, but I wish to express my sincere thanks and prayers to all who have reached during this very difficult time. It is deeply appreciated."

Hugh Hefner live from the Playboy Mansion joins us next.



CARLIN: I'm a rude dude, but I'm the real deal, lean and mean, cocked, locked and ready to block, rough, tough and hard to bluff. I take it slow. I go with the flow. I ride with the times. I got glide in my stride. Driving and moving, sailing and spinning, jiving and grooving, wailing and women. I don't snooze, so I don't loose. I keep the pedal to the medal and the rubber on the road. I party hearty. And lunch time is crunch time. I'm hanging in. There ain't no doubt. And I'm hanging tough, over and out.


KING: How did he remember all that. Kelly wanted to remind us that she wants to thank all the fans and friends that have been contacting her today. Hugh Hefner is at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. I guess you were one of the discovers of George Carlin, weren't you?

HUGH HEFNER, "PLAYBOY MAGAZINE": He played the Playboy Club in 1960 and was on Playboy's Penthouse in that time frame. A lot of comics came out of Chicago in that time frame. Lenny Bruce, all good friends.

KING: What do you think -- what was his secret, if that's the word, Hugh? What made George Carlin special to you?

HEFNER: Well, I think it was, you know, as with Lenny, you know, the combination of the insights and the willingness to break the boundaries. I remember, and of course his act didn't really turn radical until the early '70s, but in 1961, he was playing the Playboy Club with his partner, Jack Burns, and I took Joe Kennedy -- we had had dinner together in Chicago and I took Joe Kennedy up to the Playboy Club in Chicago to see the show, and Burns and Carlin were on stage. They did a little rift on JFK and Joe Kennedy was not amused. KING: No, I don't imagine he would be. You, I look forward to seeing you soon. I wish we had more time but I thank you very much for your memories of George Carlin. Bill Maher, how will he be remembered?

MAHER: A lot of party material, Larry. We talked about the rest of it, but it was really -- I'm kidding. That's what I loved about him. He could also do that. He could do serious, serious and then go through three minutes of stuff that was just silly.

KING: Lewis Black, how do you think he'll be remembered?

BLACK: I think we were made smarter by his presence. And I think he will be remembered as somebody who tried to drag us into the 20th century.

KING: Roseanne?

BARR: I think he'll be remembered as somebody who changed comedy forever, as a deep thinker, a great philosopher, and an incredible writer, not to mention a great performer.

KING: We have an e-mail question from Donna in Chandler, Arizona, "Mr. Carlin was the best and I will miss him. As people who knew him, do you think he was a happy man?" Bill?

MAHER: Like I was saying, I think he was, because he worked at what he loved. How many people can say they do what they love and they do it everyday. That little routine we just watched him doing, where he was reeling off all those catch phrases; it took about 45 seconds to -- for him to do that on stage. I bet you it took him months to put that together, to gather those things, to put them in the right order, to make that into a finely sculpted comedy gem. That's all he wanted to do and he did it better than anybody.

KING: So Lewis, in a sense, a taught all of you lessons, didn't he?

BLACK: Oh, yes. I'm not really here without him. He was vital to my growth. There's no denying it. I mean, he opened me up in a lot of ways. For all the minds that remain closed to him, you know, a lot of us are -- it was like wow, I've never thought of looking at it that way.

KING: If possible, we will all be at that memorial service and let you know when it will take place. Thank you, Roseanne.

BARR: Thank you.

KING: Thank you. Lewis.

BARR: My sympathies to the family.

KING: Thank you, Bill.

MAHER: Great doing this, Larry. KING: I'm glad we did it. I'm glad to all the people who participated. Go to for our special George Carlin quick vote. We have a lot more information there. Probably all things George Carlin would have made fun off. Time now for Anderson Cooper, as we break and go to "AC 360." Anderson?