On Monday’s CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric teased an upcoming segment remembering controversial comedian George Carlin: "...he was a comedy legend who made us laugh and think." During the segment, correspondent Jim Axelrod followed the same theme: "George Carlin made lots of us laugh...But his genius was making us think." Immediately following that observation a clip was played of Carlin declaring: "This country was founded by a group of slave owners who told us that all men are created equal. That is what's known as being stunningly, stunningly full of [expletive]."
Later in the segment, Axelrod again praised Carlin: " But what Carlin loved best was using irreverence to force us to re-exam what we'd long stopped thinking about." That statement was followed by Carlin ranting: "Here's another question I have: How come when it's us it's an abortion and when it's a chicken it's an omelet? Are we so much better than chickens all of a sudden?" One wonders, when Couric and Axelrod say Carlin "made us think," who exactly is "us"?
Here is the full transcript of the segment:
KATIE COURIC: And he was a comedy legend who made us laugh and think.
GEORGE CARLIN: Some words that you can go to jail for. I mean the filthy words that are always filthy.
COURIC: And there's much more CBS News ahead, including a look back at George Carlin's career, a comic legend who perfected the art of pushing the envelope.
COURIC: Up next, remembering the legendary George Carlin.
KATIE COURIC: George Carlin will forever be known for the seven words you can't say on television, but he also recorded 23 albums, 14 HBO specials and appeared on the 'Tonight Show' 130 times. He died yesterday at 71 and he never stopped pushing the boundaries of comedy. Here's Jim Axelrod.
GEORGE CARLIN: That's the first thing you do in a hotel room is put away your stuff. Put stuff in here, put some stuff down there.
JIM AXELROD: George Carlin made lots of us laugh.
CARLIN: You put your stuff over there, I'm putting my stuff over here. Here's another place to put some stuff. Hey, we got more places than we've got stuff! We're gonna have to buy more stuff!
AXELROD: But his genius was making us think.
CARLIN: This country was founded by a group of slave owners who told us that all men are created equal. That is what's known as being stunningly, stunningly full of [expletive].
AXELROD: He wasn't subtle. A ninth grade drop-out fascinated by language, he was a master provocateur, testing where the lines are by crossing them.
CARLIN: There are some words that you can go to jail for.
AXELROD: He wasn't kidding. His routine about seven words you just can't say on television
CARLIN: All I could think of was [expletive], [expletive], [expletive]...
AXELROD: Almost quaint by today's standards. It got him arrested. A radio station was fined for broadcasting the routine. The case went to the Supreme Court. The government's right to police the airwaves was upheld.
CARLIN: And I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions. I don't just roll over when I'm told to.
UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: George Carlin is on the air-
AXELROD: Carlin started out as a D.J. and doing traditional standup.
CARLIN: In 1492, Columbus did one of the most daring things yet known to man -- he borrowed money from a woman.
AXELROD: But he had a gift for evolving, always staying timely. Remember Al Sleep, the Hippy Dipy Weatherman in the late '60s?
CARLIN: Weather's dominated by a large Canadian low which is not to be confused with a Mexican high.
AXELROD: He unleashed on trends.
CARLIN: Suddenly everyone is walking around with their own personal bottle of water. When did we get so thirsty in America?
AXELROD: And yuppie parents obsessed with their precious kids.
CARLIN: First of all, they're not all cute, okay? In fact, if you look at them close, some of them are rather unpleasant looking.
AXELROD: But what Carlin loved best was using irreverence to force us to re-exam what we'd long stopped thinking about.
CARLIN: Here's another question I have: How come when it's us it's an abortion and when it's a chicken it's an omelet? Are we so much better than chickens all of a sudden?
AXELROD: He died of heart failure at the age of 71. But for a man who did a lot of complaining-
CARLIN: Everybody wants me to have a nice day. 'Have a nice day!' Yeah, yeah, yeah. You want to give me my [expletive] change, please?
AXELROD: To hear George Carlin tell it in his own inimitable way, he had no real complaints.
CARLIN: I've had the best treatment on this planet. I've been very lucky and if suddenly a big ax fell through the ceiling and split my head in two, I would say, 'not bad, I had a lot of things.'
AXELROD: Jim Axelrod, CBS News, Washington.