August 2008


Pieces of George Carlin

by H. Scott Prosterman


“The Hair Piece”




I am aware that some stare at my hair,


In fact to be fair


Some really despair of my hair,


But I don’t care


‘Cause they’re not aware


Nor are they debonaire.




             So begins “The Hair Piece” by George Carlin, as presented on his

genius album AM & FM from 1972.  I got a lot of mileage out of that piece of

inspiration.  I memorized it in high school and gave more recitations than

my friends and family could stand. These days I use it as a teaching tool in

an accent reduction class for non-native English speakers in the Bay Area.

If you’re Asian, Arab, Indian or whatever, read this out loud and let the

fun begin.




They see hair down to there


Say beware and go off on a tear.


I say, “NO FAIR.”


A head that’s bare is really nowhere,


So be fair with your hair.




             George was the sage and wit of our time.  He succeeded Mark

Twain, Will Rogers, Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce with that mantle.  Richard

Pryor is also in that panetheon.  He was brilliant and funny with his social

observations and put-downs of the way we are.  Like Lenny and Mort, George

was also very brave – they had the cajones to challenge the silly censorship

laws in America.  They all went to jail for our Constitution.  And they

prompted us to be more candid and open as a society.




Show it you care.


Be like a Bear.


Wear it to there


Or to there


Or to THERE if you dare!




             George had the gift of relevancy.  His magnificent talent graced

us for 5 decades.  He had the vision to re-invent himself and his act to

remain relevant, profound and funny over 50 years.




My wife bought some hair at a fair . . .


To use as a spare.


Did I care?


Oh contraire!


Spare hair is fair,


In fact, hair can be rare.




             I can remember him being on “The Tonight Show”, “Ed Sullivan”

and “Jack Paar” as a normal early-60’s comedian.  He made jokes about Irish

cops during the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and was hilarious with “safe”

material.  Then he grew out his hair and beard, and started doing REALLY

funny stuff.




Fred Astaire got no hair,


Nor a chair, nor a chocolate éclair.


And where is the hair on a pear?


Nowhere monfraire.




             In high school, I played “AM & FM” continuously for a few

months.  I even played it to help get girls in the mood.  Thanks George. I

would tell my parents we were going upstairs to listen to the record.  One

night I had some buddies over late.  My dad asked, “What are you guys going

to do?”  I said, “Listen to the George Carlin LP.”  Dad said, “We’ll THIS

time I know you won’t be up there trying to fuck* a girl.”




Now that I’ve shared this affair with the hair,


I think I’ll repair to my lair . . . and use Nair.


Do you care?




             George Carlin pondered the Universe and helped us to see the

humor in it every day.  Perhaps more than anyone else, George carried the

torch of the Free Speech Movement more eloquently than anyone since it began

in Berkeley in 1964.  Thank you, George.




*As a tribute to George, the reference to the candid usage has to be

included in this appreciation.




H. Scott Prosterman