Surprisingly, Carlin was popular in our family. Mostly due to his appearances with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show which of course were always squeaky-clean, and usually nothing more his vamps on language. I assume my mom knew he could work blue, which makes my favorite George Carlin memory all the more puzzling.
We had just moved to our new house in Millville, it must have been August of 1983. We had gotten cable, and we had HBO (why we had HBO when they showed many an R-rated movie after my parents went to bed is beyond me, but I certainly appreciated it.) My dad worked the swing shift for the FAA and was working that evening. My sister was asleep in bed. Mom saw there was an HBO special with George Carlin on ("Carlin At Carnegie"), and she decided to watch it.
My parents were at little nervous about letting me see PG movies at the time. We were all very Catholic. And I was only 14. So I didn't know what do do when Carlin let out his first line:
"You ever notice how most of the people are against abortion are people you wouldn't want to fuck in the first place?"
Now, this is pretty funny, even though I wasn't supposed to think it was, and there's the whole f-bomb issue. I figured my mom would just change the channel after the first obscenity was lobbed.
But she didn't.
I looked at her nervously, and she simply stared at the TV, seemingly saying "well, I want to watch this, and I'm not going to tell you to go away." So I stayed.
Thus began an hour of my mom and I sitting on the sofa, watching Carlin go through his act, rude, crude and indecent. The only problem was I didn't want to laugh at the dirty stuff in front of my mom. But it was so damn funny! More than once I ran off into my bedroom, shut the door, and started laughing, and would run back in for more.
It was the funniest hour of TV I had ever watched.
At the end, I got up and went to bed. We never spoke of it again. I never found out what exactly was going through mom's head.
So, rest in peace, George Carlin, and thank you for one of the most unique bonding moments I ever had with my mom.