George Carlin, arguably, is the greatest and -- after Lenny Bruce -- most influential stand-up comedian of all time. An Irish Catholic born and raised in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City, Carlin started out as a conventional comedian and had achieved a fair degree of success as a Bill Cosby style raconteur in nightclubs and on TV until the late 1960s, when he radically overhauled his persona. The new persona, which is more in line with who and what George Carlin is, has been "George Carlin" ever since and is what made him a great stand-up comedian.
Carlin's forte is Lenny Bruce-style social and political commentary, spiced with nihilistic observations about people and religion peppered with black humor. He is also noted for his use of language. Carlin's notorious "Seven Dirty Words" comedy routine was part of a radio censorship case that made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978.
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