Here Are The Things George Carlin’s Daughter Says Made Him Laugh

America’s counter-culture comic loved him some ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’
Here Are The Things George Carlin’s Daughter Says Made Him Laugh

As it turns out, George Carlin was a comedy nerd just like the rest of us. “My dad was a fan,” daughter Kelly Carlin recently told the Rarified Heir podcast, a show devoted to stories from adult children of celebrities. “When you’re a kid, you look at your parents to see what’s funny. It was always a joy to watch someone else make him laugh.” According to Kelly, the Carlin family would sit down for a night of television and watch the same kind of comedy that the rest of America was loving. 

What comedy specifically made George Carlin laugh? It’s an eclectic list — and some of the funny stuff may surprise you.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s Ted Baxter

Yep, the counter-culture comic loved him some Ted Knight, who received six Emmy nominations for playing the vain, boorish news anchor. “(George) never felt like he knew everything or had the chops for everything,” Kelly explained. “Those characters (like Ted Baxter), he reveled in people who did that. A part of him wished he could have done more of that but it was so out of his lane.”

Cracking Up on ‘The Carol Burnett Show’

“Watching my dad laugh … was such a great joy,” remembered Kelly. “That moment when Tim Conway would keep pushing Harvey Korman, and Harvey just knowing it’s live television and he must not (break character). Tim would save the good stuff for the live tapings, so they were seeing it for the first time.”

‘The Bob Newhart Show’

Kelly mentioned Bob Newhart multiple times, nothing that Carlin loved “watching Newhart and his take on things.”

Ruth Draper

“Ruth Draper was another one,” Kelly said of the Queen of the One-Woman Theater. “He loved her wit and her voices and her characters.”

Lord Buckley

“My father was very much enthralled with Lord Buckley, and his use of language and poetry and his turning of the tables,” Kelly explained. 

The Jerky Boys

“He would send me funny tapes with raunchy, raunchy songs,” relayed Kelly, which reminded her of another of Carlin’s 1990s favorites — the Jerky Boys. “He would send me that shit. ‘You got to fucking listen to this one!’ He had a very eclectic sense of humor.” 

‘Letters from a Nut’

It Books

Another Carlin fave was Letters from a Nut, a book of prank correspondence with the Greyhound Bus Company, Vice President Al Gore, the Paper Bag Council and other unsuspecting dupes. The book, with a forward from Jerry Seinfeld and ghost-written by comic Barry Marder posing as Ted L. Nancy, was a minor sensation in the 1990s.

After Kelly’s mother, Brenda, passed away, she went on a book tour with Carlin, and “I would read those out loud to my dad and we would cry laughing. It’s so good.” 

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