In a year in which celebrities have been dropping dead left and right, this is one that really hits home for me. George Carlin wasn't just a comic, he was a pioneer, a leader second only to Lenny Bruce in a singular realm: that of the supreme cut-through-the-bullshit artist. Carlin was 71 when he died, but he always seemed much younger than he really was to me because he retained an air of still being with it, of riding the tides of society, of not getting bogged down by his own encroaching age. And he was just about to get a Kennedy Center honor.
And did I mention, he was hilarious? As in, really terrifically funny about pretty much every possible subject under the sun, and a few where the sun don't shine. He was a brave soul, a guy who saw the human race for more or less what it is, and a terrific entertainer.
He'll be missed.