Being a great comedian is one thing, but being compared to Mark Twain in the field of American humor and satire is quite another. Yet the late, great George Carlin is now in that category, having posthumously received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor Monday night at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
Past winners Steve Martin, Billy Crystal and Lily Tomlin were on hand to honor Carlin, as well as other social humorists like Jon Stewart, Denis Leary and Bill Maher.
Possessing the ability to both comment bitingly on nearly every aspect of culture, and to simultaneously make that commentary brilliantly funny, Carlin was a worthy successor to Twain's mantle, and it's fitting that he receive such an accolade. Just a shame he didn't make it to receive the award in person.
In a development that no doubt would've put a twinkle in the comedian's eye, protesters outside the Kennedy Center held up signs that read, "George Carlin is Going to Hell". Well, as Twain himself said, "Go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company."