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Would George Carlin Be Bill Maher … or Howard Stern 2.0 … Today?

Could Carlin square with today’s totalitarian Left if he were still alive?

George Carlin’s progressive bona fides are no secret, but he never went the full Colbert.

The late comedian hammered the Religious Right, President Ronald Reagan and other GOP-friendly targets in his celebrated career.

He also slammed liberal sacred cows, too.

Carlin once dubbed environmentalists “self-righteous” souls who “don’t care about the planet,” a bit seen in the new HBO docuseries “George Carlin’s American Dream.”

George Carlin's American Dream | Official Trailer | HBO

Carlin’s genius didn’t make exceptions for any one side. He leaned aggressively to the Left, of course, but he tweaked his fellow liberals if the opportunity arose. Hypocrisy, then and now, is bipartisan. Carlin understood that better than anyone.

Sound like somebody else on the pop culture radar?

Bill Maher routinely mocks his fellow progressives, mostly via his weekly HBO series “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Maher savages woke culture, Identity Politics and the modern Left’s hunger to censor speech.

He even sat down for a smart, civil debate with The Daily Wire co-founder Ben Shapiro. That act alone set Maher apart from most progressive peers. Remember what happened when actor/producer Mark Duplass shared a pro-Shapiro sentiment on social media?

Carlin is back in the cultural conversation thanks to “George Carlin’s American Dream,” debuting May 20. The two-part documentary, co-directed by Judd Apatow, recalls the groundbreaking career of one of stand-up’s brightest stars.

The docuseries not only examines his formative years but how he, according to the filmmakers, predicted much of the cultural chaos churning 14 years after his death.

It helps that so much of Carlin’s “stuff” is timeless, to his everlasting credit.

RELATED: Big Tech Is Crushing Conservative Comedy

The New York Times recently noted the current battle over Carlin’s legacy. Progressives share his bits blasting pro-lifers, for example. Conservatives, in turn, suggest he’d recoil over vaccine mandates and anti-speech measures like the failed Disinformation Governance Board.

Both sides offer solid arguments, though it’s clear Carlin would align with Democrats on most modern issues. He railed against “white men” in his earlier work, including a savage bit declaring golf “racist.”

This isn’t the Democratic party Carlin once knew, though.

The 2022 model can’t say what a woman is, embraces abortion up until the moment of birth and routinely limits free speech across the culture. It stands down as violent protests roil the nation and cheers Big Tech censorship.

Progressives also want unvaccinated Americans to lose their jobs, despite the medication not living up to its pre-release hype.

That’s being kind.

Carlin railed against racially-charged police brutality decades ago. Would he do the same now, knowing that many narratives around police violence are wrong?

The current crop of liberal comics might confound Carlin.

They refuse to hold President Joe Biden accountable for a disastrous year-plus in office, preferring to attack cable news stars who lack the ability to forge a single law.

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Satirists go mute when the subject of Vice President Kamala Harris surfaces. Quick, name one mainstream comic scorching Harris’s word salad pronouncements.

How would Carlin react to modern progressives. not to mention peers unwillingness to speak truth to power? Would he go the Maher route, clinging to his principles without holding back on modern hypocrisies, Left and Right?

Carlin could chart a different course, too. He could abandon the principles that made him a star, the rebellious spirit that sparked so many comedy highlights.

In short, he could be like Howard Stern 2.0.

RELATED: Howard Stern Waves the White Flag on Freedom

The self-described King of All Media once stood proudly for free speech across media platforms. Stern questioned the government and refused to follow media-approved narratives on subjects like race and politics.

He was a rebel in the Carlin mode, battling radio executives, media outlets and fellow disk jockeys. And, in most cases, he emerged triumphant.

That Stern is no more.

Howard Stern rips anti-vax radio hosts who died: ‘F–k their freedom’ | New York Post

The current model embraces government dictates, burns few calories defending free speech and fawns over Democrats. His obsequious interview with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, later disgraced on multiple counts, is a career lowlight.

Is that the Carlin we’d see today, a tribalist who can’t call out the hypocrisy of his own “side?”

Carlin’s comedy took on a coal black hue late in his career. He actively rooted against humanity in bit after bit, a sour note to a legendary, and humanist, career.

His cultural comments did offer one powerful clue to how he’d process the modern world. He loved people individually, and the docuseries recalls that part of his persona.

Groups? He hated them. That group mentality is a key factor behind our tribal times. We too often hate pundits or politicians because they belong to the other group, not ours.

That kind of thinking irritated Carlin, suggesting the comic legend would look to Maher, not Stern, for moral support.

Photograph by Courtesy of George Carlin’s Estate/HBO


  1. The new HollyWoke Howie aka Howard Stern makes me sick to my stomach on several accounts. I started listening to Howard Stern when the show started simulcasting to 98.5FM is Cleveland Ohio in 1991. As you already know, Stern was an immediate success in every single market, My friends and I became addicted and listened every single day. Fast forward 30 years and I cannot believe it’s the same person. He has done a 180 in the wrong direction to the point where I now say for the first time “I hate Howard Stern”.
    My point is I like so many others feel betrayed for supporting him for so long only to see him turn on his core audience and start attacking us for “EVERYTHING” while at the same time bowing down to the likes of Rosie Odonnell, Madonna, Hilary Clinton, etc.
    Anyways, I’m still saddened and I canceled my Sirius/XM account 3 years ago.

  2. GC would likely have a podcast, hilariously commenting on the absurdities on both sides of the political and social spectrum.

  3. Neither Maher or Stern are worthy of being mentioned in the same breath. Carlin actually had his own mind. Stern is just an attention whore and Maher is just starting to understand freedom.

  4. This is a stupid. Anyone who paid attention knew Carlin went after both sides. Apparently it’s not possible to think that way anymore.

  5. GC would have a magnificent time with the left today ….. and I think that he would be slightly embarrassed by the absurdity of his buds while doing so…. Especially after they throw their vengeance and violence at him …. Just as Chappell has had

  6. The George Carlin I remember would have wiped the floor with both of them. He would expose and highlight the absurdity that exists in all humans regardless of left or right. If it applied to you, then he hit his mark. Sometimes one side or the other would just give him more fodder.

  7. In the excellent documentary: Can we take a joke? There’s an audio recording of George Carlin saying “I’m used to being attacked by the right, they’ve done that my whole career. but when the left started attacking me, it caught me off guard.” He also got a lot more bitter towards the end, so I believe he would take the gloves off and hammer everyone with equal ferocity.

    1. Yes! George Carlin would do just fine in todays day and age. And if he didn’t, then he wouldn’t give a f***!

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