Old Clip Of George Carlin Calling Out Comedians Who Pick On 'Underdogs' Resurfaces Amid Chappelle Backlash
An old interview clip featuring the late comedian, George Carlin, resurfaced on the internet in the wake of the backlash surrounding Dave Chappelle's transphobic remarks on his Netflix special, The Closer.
Chappelle remained determined not to be "canceled" after he made comments like, "gender is a fact" and identified himself as a "TERF," or "trans-exclusionary radical feminist," on his sixth program with Netflix.
The streaming platform's solidarity with the irreverent stand-up comic resulted in trans staff writers and employees walking off the job last week and comedian Hannah Gadsby lambasting Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos for using her name as an example of the company's commitment to the LGBTQ+ community amidst the controversy.
In 1990, Carlin discussed with Larry King how comedian Andrew Dice Clay should be cautious about his jokes typically aimed at marginalized people.
Many believe Carlin's words back then hold relevancy now with the controversy Chappelle is facing.
"I would defend to the death his right to do everything he does," Carlin said then of Andrew Dice Clay, who is known for his "lewd, rude, and crude" brand of humor.
You can watch the video of the 1990 interview, here.
George Carlin Interview - On Comedians Who Pick On The Underdogs youtu.be
"The thing that I find unusual, and it's, you know, not a criticism so much, but his targets are underdog[s]. And comedy traditionally has picked on people in power, people who abuse their power."
"Women and gays and immigrants are kind of, to my way of thinking, underdog[s]. And, you know, he ought to be careful, because he's Jewish."
"And a lot of people who want to pick on these kind of groups, the Jews are on that list. A little further you've got women, gays, gypsies and boom, boom, boom, and suddenly you find the Jews."
When King asked why Dice Clay was able to "get away" with his offensive jokes at the expense of marginalized people, Carlin replied:
"I think his core audience are young, white males who are threatened by these groups."
"I think a lot of these guys aren't sure of their manhood, because that's a problem when you're going through adolescence. You know, 'Am I really, could I be, I hope I'm not one of them.'"
"And the women who assert themselves and are competent are a threat to these men, and so are immigrants in terms of jobs."
His words resonated with Twitter users.
"His targets are underdogs, and comedy has traditionally picked on people in power, people who abuse their power. Women & gays & immigrants are, to my way of thinking, underdogs."
George Carlin is talking about Andrew Dice Clay, but it could just as easily be Dave Chappelle. https://t.co/rnD787OUM3
— Morgan Art-boo-khina 👻 (@LavenderNRed) October 26, 2021
George Carlin explaining the Dave Chappelle situation almost 40 years ago. pic.twitter.com/5YXMtlcAiA
— NateTalksToYou (@NateTalksToYou) October 26, 2021
Here's another one to put on the list when right wingers think George Carlin was on their side 😆 pic.twitter.com/GSCX6UxcXI
— Tony Michaels 🎙 (@thetonymichaels) October 27, 2021
dave chappelle should listen to george carlin. there's nothing virtuous or brave about picking on one of the most marginalized groups in societypic.twitter.com/yhRwfMfOjf
— ☀️👀 (@zei_squirrel) October 26, 2021
Give it up for George Carlin! pic.twitter.com/75pIrg6cCD
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) October 27, 2021
There was a time when I found Dave Chappelle funny. There was also a time I found Dennis Miller, Bill Maher, & Bill Cosby funny.
Meanwhile, George Carlin remains funny. Robin Williams. Eddie Izzard. Steve Martin & Martin Short. Paula Poundstone, Phyllis Diller, & Madeline Kahn.
— The Big Bad Wolf (@TBBW1) October 26, 2021
George Carlin was brilliant and so ahead of his time, and saw exactly what was going on.
And here we are, long after George passed, living that out with Dave Chappelle now. https://t.co/qN1oBqztlP
— Louisville Dad Vaxxed & Remasked (@LouisvilleDad) October 27, 2021
Comedy can point out foibles and be offensive but still remain funny if there's truth behind the jokes (i.e., George Carlin about American Dream).#DaveChappelle's shortcoming is that he erases trans identity as a sickness/false/deception - equivalent to denying slavery hurt ppl.
— Social Change Before Its too Late 🌈️️👠💋🌎🌞🐊 (@SymbioticWrld) October 20, 2021
Known for his dark comedy and for tackling religion and politics in his standup routines, George Carlin was regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comics of all time.
He died at the age of 71 due to cardiac failure in 2008.
That year, he was posthumously awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which is presented to those who have "had an impact on American society in ways similar to" Twain.
The same honor was presented to Dave Chappelle in 2019.