It's official—George Carlin now has a street named after him in Morningside Heights. Friends, family and colleagues honored the comedian the best way they knew how—by making jokes. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
It felt like everyone was channeling their inner George Carlin at his street renaming ceremony on West 121st Street and Morningside Drive. Even City Councilman Mark Levine chose to pay homage to the comic's famous rant on the words I can't say on TV.
"The seven dirty words that you can't say in politics. They are, truth, truth, truth, truth, truth, truth, and [expletive]," Levine said.
There were plenty of not OK for family TV tributes to Carlin. But for many of the current comics here to honor him, that was kind of the point.
"The audience kind of draws a line in the sand and says, 'This is what we find acceptable to make fun of and this is what we don't.' And Carlin always just kind of kicked out that line in the sand and stepped right over it," said comedian Jim Norton.
Carlin died in 2008.
Eventually, the sign will move to the corner of 121st and Amersterdam Avenue. He grew up in Morningside Heights.
The famously anti-religion comedian actually went to Catholic school there. The church objected to the street being renamed after Carlin but ultimately, all sides agreed to put the sign on the opposite corner. Many noted the irony of the whole thing.
"He loved and had nothing but affection and gratitude for the priests, the nuns and the clergy and how how they shaped him too," comedian Colin Quinn said.
"Amsterdam Avenue was heaven, man. That's where we shot crap. George used to smoke dope right over there," said Carlin's brother, Patrick Carlin.
For the dozens of fans there, the ceremony was predictably lighthearted and hilarious, but there was also emotion.
"This is such a fitting honor for him. I know that he really loves this," said Carlin's widowm Sally Wade.
"He was driven by his craft, and his insatiable need to keep conquering unchartered comedy territory every day," said his daughter Kelly Carlin.
For family and friends, this recognition was about preserving the legacy of a luminary.
"He was able to get a much needed message to an otherwise often times apathetic populace without us realizing that our opinions were being shaped and changed," said comedian Kevin Bartini.
As George Carlin would say, this was a great [expletive] street renaming.