Carlin being arrested in 1972
One distinct post-9/11 memory I have was purchasing Is This It, the debut album by The Strokes, and noticing that it was missing a track. It turns out the song “New York City Cops” had been removed—the NYPD had essentially been canonized and absolutely no one wanted to be seen as critical of first responders. It turns out the same thing happened to the great George Carlin, who recorded some some anti-police material just a few weeks prior to 9/11, only to have it shelved in the wake of terrorist attacks and subsequent ennobling of the NYPD. Now via SiriusXM’s “Carlin’s Corner” you can hear the offending bit below.
George Carlin, let’s not forget, had very good—and personal—reasons to resent the police, having been famously arrested himself for obscenity in Milwaukee in 1972 for performing his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine—an off-duty police officer who was in the audience dropped a dime on him for using profanity onstage. As the well-known story goes, Carlin’s wife Brenda got onstage during her husband’s set to let him know that the police were congregating and waiting to arrest him. Carlin’s performance ran 30 minutes longer and he brought the house down, all the while making to ditch the cocaine in his pocket right before the cops nabbed him. Carlin only spent a few hours in jail and was freed on $150 bail, but it was a narrowly missed disaster over some dirty jokes.
The bit about cops, titled “Rats & Squealers” will be on the upcoming album of previously unreleased material I Kinda Like It When A Lotta People Die available from MPI Media/Eardrum Records on CD, limited edition vinyl and digital platforms on September 16, 2016.