American comedian George Carlin has been widely regarded as one of the most influential and important stand-up comics of all time. Known for his dark comedy — as well as his commentary on like politics, religion, psychology, and other subjects considered taboo — it's no wonder he was hailed as the "dean of counterculture comedians."
Even after his death, George's words in a bit called American Dream are proving relevant as ever.
George Carlin's 'Wake Up America' bit went viral in July 2020.
On July 26, a 2-minute video created by Pattern Integrity Films was published on YouTube, and it quickly took off via social media. The video featured audio from George's Wake Up America bit combined with imagery of events and people in today's society. (You can check out George's original performance here.) The result is pretty powerful.
"Say what you want about America — land of the free, home of the brave — we got some dumb--s motherf---ers floating around in this country," George declares at the beginning of the viral video. "The real owners, the big, wealthy businesses interests that control things and make all the important decisions. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners."
George's words are heard alongside footage featuring gun-toting, Confederate-flag-waving Americans, President Trump and his family alongside various world leaders and while participating in rallies, Jeff Bezos, Walmart and Monsanto logos, and more.
"They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the State Houses, the City Halls," he continues, in reference to the aforementioned owners. "They got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies so they control just about all the new and information you get to hear,"
At this point, images of politicians and of Fox News flash by, along with Facebook co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
"They've got you by the balls. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I'll tell you what they don't want," George explained, as footage played of armed law enforcement officers marching in the streets amid ongoing protesting. "They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests."
"It's a big club," he says, while Trump is shown golfing at Mar-a-Lago, "and you ain't in it. By the way, it's the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long. And they tell you what to believe all day long. Beat you over the head in their media, telling you what to believe, what to think, and what to buy."
"They don't give a f--- about you — they don't give a f--- about you. They don't care about you at all," George insists while images of people in masks, as well as hospital beds, tent communities, etc. "And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That's what the owners count on — the fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big, red, white, and blue dick that being jammed up their a--holes every day.
The now-viral video ends with George making a chilling point. "Because the owners of this country know the truth," he says. "It's called the American Dream 'cause you have to be asleep to believe it." The video ends with a black screen and the following in white lettering: #AmericaWakeUp. It was shared widely via social media.
When did George Carlin die?
In the YouTube description for the America Wake Up video, "RIP George Carlin - your voice couldn't be more timely," is written. This has prompted those who are inspired by his words to wonder: When, exactly, did George die?
The comedian died on June 22, 2008, at Saint John's Hospital in Santa Monica as a result of heart failure. He was 71.