George Carlin Dies at 71


Growing up in Milwaukee, we often heard about George Carlin's infamous arrest at Summerfest in 1972 for performing his "Seven Dirty Words" routine, excerpted above. Carlin, who died yesterday in California, had his charges dismissed later that year, after a state D.A. — who'd been in the audience for the show and refused to press charges that night — was asked in court if he saw the peace disturbed by Carlin's routine, and replied, "I saw people laughing."

Last year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel got in touch with the off-duty police officer who complained to his superiors, spurring the arrest, which gave Milwaukee some unwanted publicity and Carlin plenty of, well, wanted publicity. (A few days after the arrest, Carlin appeared on The Dick Cavett Show, entering to the tune of "On Wisconsin," and referred for a time to the seven dirty words as the "Milwaukee Seven.") The officer, Elmer Lenz, has been retired for 28 years and lives in northern Wisconsin. He admitted that he watched a George Carlin HBO special recently. "I laughed a few times," he said. "He was funny."

George Carlin, Splenetic Comedian, Dies at 71 [NYT]
Carlin's naughty words still ring in officer's ears [Journal Sentinel]