Funnymen Ben Stiller and Jay Leno have paid tribute to late comedy great George Carlin, who suffered a fatal heart attack on Sunday at the age of 71.
Carlin, who notched up 130 appearances on The Tonight Show--which Leno hosts--has been dubbed "voice of his generation" by the comic.
Leno adds, "Before George, comedians aspired to put on nice suits and perform in Las Vegas. George rebelled against that life.
"His comedy took on privilege and elitism, even railing against the game of golf.
"He never lost that fire. May he continue to inspire young people."
And Stiller, a huge fan of the late comedy legend, adds, "George Carlin was a hugely influential force in stand-up comedy. He had an amazing mind, and his humor was brave and always challenging us to look at ourselves and question our belief systems, while being incredibly entertaining. He was one of the greats and he will be missed."
Family members have also spoken of their loss. Carlin's 45-year-old daughter Kelly says, "Most people know George Carlin as an icon of comedy and an advocate of free speech. I just know him as dad... and what a dad he was.
"He taught me the value of speaking the truth in a world that doesn't always want to hear it and gave me the gift of laughter.
"He was loved and revered by so many and will be missed beyond words--but never forgotten."
Meanwhile, comedienne Ellen DeGeneres offers, "In a profession where some look for the easy laugh and cheap shot, George not only made us laugh, but his humor made us think."
And moviemaker Judd Apatow revealed he spent "half my childhood in my room listening to his records experiencing pure joy."
Carlin, who was recently announced as the recipient of this year's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, died at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
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As an inside if outdated joke among comedians "The Aristocrats" is rarely told on stage. How the world's oldest joke is told depends on the comic; it doesn't exactly have a script. In a nutshell it's about a stage family who combines bestiality incest rape excretion ejaculation vomit and blood (or any other repulsive you can think of) into their act. The joke's punch line doesn't quite translate as well for today's audiences but that's not the point. It's the set-up the telling of the joke which fuels The Aristocrats' story. The joy of Provenza's film is in seeing how today's most gifted well-known comics (from George Carlin to Jon Stewart to Sarah Silverman) riff in free-form all telling the same joke working from the same platform but delivering their own interpretations. It's the singer not the song.
The real-life comics are themselves letting it all hang out--including Carrot Top running around with no pants. Drew Carey pals around on the set of his TV show; Bob Saget preps for a stand-up set; Bill Maher trash-talks the Osbournes--these guys are the real deal. But The Aristocrats' true acting in is the improvisation framed as the ultimate comic talent. As Andy Dick and Whoopi Goldberg rant about penises they're embracing improv as a metaphor for the spirit of comedy: organic spontaneous and a symbol of the performer.
Provenza might want to keep his day job as his directing on The Aristocrats his first feature is a fine mess. Provenza grabbed a couple mid-range camcorders enlisted some friends (including executive producer and creative collaborator Penn Jillette of HBO's Bulls**t!) and hit record. The film's free form matches its spirit but the sloppiness is just a little too cavalier. Some shots are close some are far away; some scenes are cut too quickly some are just one long take. There is no clear three-act form. The movie's thematic through-lines are limited except those that occur naturally. But even for all the chaos the movie's 83-minute cumulative effect is poignant fostering a greater respect for the genius of comedy creativity. It speaks to the talent on display.