The National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. added a new piece to their collection Friday when they affixed a photograph of George Carlin to their prestigious walls. To celebrate the late comedian's newest achievement, George Carlin's official website has dug into the legendary comic's vaults and unearthed rarely heard recordings from throughout Carlin's career.
Carlin's daughter Kelly Carlin told NPR of the project, "I have a box of audiocassettes that my dad had kept over the years, starting with shows in the 1960s, ones that were important him, kind of seminal moments in his career. And we've been listening to them and archiving them."
One of the first performances uploaded on the Carlin site is a noteworthy one: In July 1972, Carlin was arrested at a Milwaukee Summerfest gig after delivering his obscene "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" routine. Carlin, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 71, was charged with disturbing the peace following the incident, but the charge was later dismissed. The "Filthy Words" routine was later put in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978 after a New York radio station broadcast the routine, drawing the ire of the Federal Communications Commission and sparking a legal battle regarding what was acceptable to air.
The Carlin website relaunch kicks off what promises to be a busy few months that will spotlight the comedian's legacy. Recently, after years of campaigning, the New York City street where Carlin grew up – the 400 block of 121st Street – was renamed George Carlin Way. SiriusXM will also dedicate their Carlin's Corner comedy station to the comedian's 14 HBO specials, beginning with the satellite radio premiere of On Location: George Carlin at USC on April 1st, the Laugh Button reports.
Kelly Carlin is also working on a memoir titled A Carlin Home Companion that's due out this fall. When asked whether her controversial, government-ridiculing father would approve of his picture being hung in the National Portrait Gallery, Kelly Carlin said, "I know he would have been thrilled, even though he was a man who stood up against all of our major institutions in this country. He was also a man who, because he had been kicked out of every institution he'd ever been a part of, like school and the Air Force, he had said to me and had admitted publicly that he craved acceptance from these places."