Episode 13: George Carlin

George Carlin, sitting on a stool with a blue background
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Joe and Mark talk to John Corcelli, author of Frank Zappa FAQ, about his latest book on George Carlin.

The trio take a fascinating deep-dive into the work, life and genius of the comedian, actor, philosopher, social commentator, and just plain funny guy George Carlin.

They get into the vagaries of (ancient) analog media, the history of the CBC, and then segue into talking about Carlin’s fifth album, Occupation: Foole.

When he first heard the 1974 album, John felt like Carlin was addressing him, not necessarily a large audience. Carlin used to be a disk jockey before he became famous for his stand up; John says DJs have the ability to connect with individuals that Carlin used.

This was a critical moment in Carlin’s career, John says, an important moment in the evolution of Carlin from class clown, to jester, to poet, to philosopher.

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John Corcelli was born and raised in Toronto. He’s a musician, actor, radio producer and writer.

He considers music his “religion”, with a love for all of its forms especially jazz. Corcelli graduated from Toronto Metropolitan University (Ryerson) in 1984 with a Radio & Television Arts degree, one that laid the foundation for a career in broadcasting with Radio as his preferred format to educate and entertain.

In 2021, after 18 years, Corcelli retired from the CBC Music Library. During those years he produced some radio docs. One of his favourites was the eight-part series, RPM: Indispensable Canadian Pop Albums. To mark the 100th anniversary of its sinking, Corcelli produced a documentary about the musicians who played on the Titanic, called Hartley’s Violin.

He’s published two books, Frank Zappa FAQ and Outside Looking In, The Seriously Funny Life and Work of George Carlin. He’s currently working on a book about film composer Howard Shore.

Learn more about John and get his books at his website.

John Corcelli looking dubiously at the camera -- black and white photo

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