Comedians are the philosophers of the 20th and 21st centuries. I say this not only because I firmly believe that George Carlin should be recognized as the philosopher of the 20th century and he should be seen as an historical equal to Socrates but because he meets all the requirements of being a philosopher.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems. Primarily those that are connected with reason, values, language, reality and existence. Comedians address that in the traditional way by telling stories of how they deal with irrational people with rational arguments. Basic philosophy. And it’s funny, which is why we listen. The truth hurts and comedy tells you our darkest societal truths in such a way to make you barely hold onto control of your bladder.
So why do I see George Carlin as a major philosopher? Because look at his old videos on youtube. Everything he ever ranted on about in his routines about the flaws of the modern world and the decline of the American dream CAME TRUE. Every quip and blunt observation he made in front of his sold-out shows while hilarious and making you laugh because of the absurdity became FACT almost a decade later. He made his living not just as a comedian but by being one of the harshest public truth tellers of the last century. His truth rants had him banned off the radio and from appearing live, they started riots and induced media frenzy time and time again.
Comedians say what we all know is dark yet true in society in a way to make us laugh to understand it. They engage their audiences in making them think. They engage the media to have conversations about the shock value of the real truth. They rile people up hoping for change.
So that is why George Carlin deserves the credit for being above the standard comedian and should be immortalized as the greatest thinker and philosopher of 20th century. That is the honest hard truth and although George wouldn’t have wanted to be labelled as one, it’s a title he truly deserves.