The Branded Comic

Yesterday, we lost one of the greatest brand managers of the comedic world. George Carlin, who died of heart failure at 71, leaves behind not only a series of memorable routines, but also a legacy of the power of words and brand.
George Carlin

Just over a year ago, I found his talent even more honed that it had been for his most celebrated (and legally challenged) monologues – the informed rap on those seven infamous words which lead to a Supreme Court decision on broadcasting “offensive” language.

Here was a man who understood the power of the language – and the brand power that language has over us all. It was never his words that were offensive, but rather the reaction to challenging the status quo that was truly the offensive act.

But more than “the seven words you can’t say on television”, Carlin targeted other challenging concepts and idiosyncracies like misplaced shame, religious hypocrisy and the often overlooked quirks of our language.

Why, he simply asked, do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?

Today we lost a master of questioning the “norm”. Truly a loss to each of us.

Take a note from Carlin’s book, and challenge the norm. For it’s in that challenging that we discover new ideas and ways that pave the way for a better future.

When asked what he thought people would say when he died, he replied in true Carlin form “Funny…he was just here a minute ago”.

And he will be…always in our thoughts and hearts.

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