It will not come as a surprise to any of my friends or family that I would want to talk to you, of all dead people. Ever since my high school boyfriend introduced me to the wonderfulness that was George Carlin (just a few short years before you left us), I have been a huge fan of yours.
I’m not exactly a big connoisseur of standup comedy. I could be happy watching any halfway decent comedian, as long as (s)he has some good one-liners and a talent for getting the timing just right. Very few comedians, however, have made the lasting impression on me that you have. I think this is because you were more than your official job title, and represented an ideal that all comedians should strive for: you were a brilliant social critic, wordsmith, historian, writer, and prophet. You recognized the fucked-uppedness our society had devolved into, and were wise enough to comment on it in a funny way so that people would actually listen. Thanks to YouTube, I’ve seen many of your interviews and serious pieces as well as your standup routines, and find these to be equally as compelling as they were frighteningly true.
I remember one day, on my study abroad trip in college, when I was feeling kind of down about some things that were going on and needed a pick-me-up. I turned on my mp3 player and put on your Complaints and Grievances HBO special, and by the time you got to your list of “People Who Ought to Be Killed,” I was laughing so hard I was crying and drooling into the pillow. Your wit and dark humor have always allowed me to think critically about the world, but without getting too depressed over it. A part of me wishes I could be the female version of you as a writer, but I really don’t think you can be replicated.
Wherever you are, I know that you are either “smiling down” or “screaming up” at me (hopefully you appreciate the reference). Thank you for sharing your erudition with the world.