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George Carlin on the Redskins

(AP Photo).

The George Carlin sports clip du jour this morning seems to be on Baseball and Football, included below, but I'd argue his "Running is Not a Sport" bit (warning: this clip has several words you still cannot say on TV) is funnier. King Kaufman has a summary of much of Carlin's sports work, including this:

He had a routine in which he said that there really are only three sports: baseball, basketball and football, and he gave reasons for why various other sports are really games or activities. Hockey? That's three separate activities: Ice-skating, chasing a puck around and beating people up.

Swimming? "Swimming is a way to keep from drowning?" Sailing? That's transportation. "Riding a bus isn't a sport, why the [seven dirty word] should sailing be a sport?" Running? "For [dirty] sake, my mother can run. You don't see her on the cover of Sports Illustrated, do you?" Gymnastics? Forget it: "Gymnastics is not a sport because Romanians are good at it. It took me a long time to come up with that rule, but [goshdirtyit], I did it."

You can read the full thing here (warning: lots of bad words); his words for soccer and lacrosse are particularly unkind (the latter crossing into homophobia), and he closes with this on golf:

Let it just be said golf is a game that might possibly be fun, if it could be played alone. But it's the vacuous, striving, superficial, male-bonding joiners one has to associate with that makes it such a repulsive pastime. And it is decidedly not a sport. Period.

Anyhow, for the local audience, here's Carlin's roundabout treatment of the Redskins nickname. It's pulled from the Times-Picayune's review of the short-lived "The George Carlin Show," which came out on Fox in 1994.

Carlin plays George O'Grady, a semi-wacky street philosopher who spends most of his time hanging out with his friends at a corner bar where everybody knows his name. Like "Cheers," barstools serve as comedy stages. When the bartender wonders aloud about the use of the derisive term "Redskins" as a football nickname, Carlin argues that "Fighting Irish" isn't much better: "That's like calling a team 'The Bargaining Jews,' " he cracks.

Not sure exactly where he stood on Redskins, but at least he was talking about them. Also, if I'm reading the summaries correctly, the pilot featured Carlin betting on a Redskins-Giants game, and claiming a dog as his prize when the Redskins lost. It also led to snarky asides, like this, from the USA Today:

When he kneels in a scuzzy bathroom stall to secure God's help to clinch a bet - as if the Redskins could beat the Giants - he vows to give up gambling. Lotto, too, "even though it helps the schools," he adds in an endearing aside.

Not sure how many times a Redskins loss was the crucial plot turn in a major network sit-com pilot, and for that we have Carlin to thank. Anyhow, here's the baseball and the football clip.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 23, 2008; 11:29 AM ET
Categories:  Media  
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Nice piece, but why do you see the need to warn people about language and mention possible homophobia? That precisely misses the point of a typical Carlin riff...everyone is fair game and he takes no prisoners. You've got to be kidding me.

Posted by: dan | June 23, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Here is a great video to remember George Carlin:

Posted by: Raphael | June 23, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

He kicks ass.Sadly missed.

Posted by: Shawn | June 23, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I'd have to say that the most famous sitcom plot twist involving the Redskins has to be on the Simpson's episode "Lisa the Greek." At the end, when Homer asks her who will win the Super Bowl she says "If I love you, Washington. If I don't, Buffalo."

Favorite. Episode. Ever.

Posted by: Illegal Immigrant | June 24, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Great post....I used to watch the George Carlin show all the time, and liked it.

Posted by: | June 25, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

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