R.I.P. George Carlin

Comedy icon George Carlin died from heart failure yesterday at a Santa Monica’s St. John’s Hospital. He was 71.

Carlin was known for tempering his comedy with no-nonsense, brutal honesty.

The acerbic, multiple Grammy-winning comedian, who was best known for his “seven words you can’t say on television” routine, had a career spanning decades. He was the first ever host of Saturday Night Live and his intelligent, leftist, hilarious routines paved the way for generations of comedy writers and comedians.

Carlin was set to receive the 11th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in November. His last comedy shows took place at the Orleans casino in Vegas and, despite his age, he had many more planned.

Carlin was known for his love of words, and wrote several successful books, including Brain Droppings in 1997.

His “seven words” routine was the basis of a Supreme Court case concerning the FCC and obscenity in the 1970s.

“It’s a perverse badge of honor to be the only comedian whose routines were the subject of a case in the United States Supreme Court,” Carlin said in 2005.

Carlin’s jobs in recent years included the children’s show Shining Time Station, numerous appearances in the films of Kevin Smith, and voice work for Pixar’s Cars film in 2006.

Carlin is survived by his second wife, Sally Wade. He was married to his first wife Brenda from 1961 until her death in 1997.

He is missed.