George Carlin performs at O'dome Nov. 22
Joe Courter
November/December 1999

In an age where political and social satire has given way to smart-ass cynicism or aggressive put downs, it's good to know a veteran of the more thoughtful branch of comedy is still successfully touring through over 100 concert dates a year.

George Carlin will be making a stop in Gainesville on Monday evening November 22 at the O'Connell Center, in a joint presentation by Accent and Student Government Productions at UF. Cost for the concert is a very reasonable $5 for students, and $13.50 for the general public. Student tickets are available at the University Box Office, general public tickets from Ticketmaster.

Forty years ago in 1959 while in the Air Force, George Carlin started honing his comedy as a morning DJ. By 1962 he'd made his first national television appearance on the Jack Paar show. 1963 saw Carlin in New York City, where he became a regular at the Cafe Au Go Go for two years. Lots more television followed this period of development.

All this TV had a restraining effect on the material, having to fit the limitations of network standards. His own counterculture leanings were matching the mood of the country, and with that change his way of reaching his listeners became record albums, the first four in the Seventies "going gold" and the first ten all getting Grammy nominations.

Cable television became his next vehicle to reach people beginning in the late 1970's and he's also branched off into children's television in the 1990's, in addition to his continued touring.

The challenge of a topical, humanistic comedian to stay current and connected with his audience over a 40-year career is formidable. Gator Growls of the past have seen a couple of examples of notable failures (the Smothers Brothers and Bob Hope--but Hope was spanning both a huge time and a cultural divide). I sincerely doubt George will let us down.

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