George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic and author. Widely regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comics of all time, he was once dubbed "the dean of counterculture comedians". He was well known for his dark comedy and reflections on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. His "seven dirty words" routine was central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a 5–4 decision affirmed the government's power to censor indecent material on the public airwaves.
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Because we are laughed at, I don’t think people really understand how essential [comedians] are to their sanity. If it weren’t for the brief respite we give the world with our foolishness, the world would see mass suicide in numbers that compare favorably with the death rate of the lemmings. I’m sure most of you have heard the story of the man who, desperately ill, goes to an analyst and tells the doctor that he has lost his desire to live and that is seriously considering suicide. The doctor listens to his tale of melancholia and then tells the patient that what he needs is a good belly laugh. He then advises the unhappy man to go to the circus that night and spend the evening laughing at Grock, the world’s funniest clown. The doctor sums it up, “After you have seen Grock, I am sure you will be much happier.” The patient rises to his feet, looks sadly at the doctor, turns and ambles toward the door. As he starts to leave the doctor says, “By the way, what is your name?” The man turns and regards the analyst with sorrowful eyes. “I am Grock.”