This past summer, three years after comedian Kevin Bartini launched a fraught-filled campaign to rename a New York City street after the late George Carlin, the city council passed a bill to do just that. Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the order that would allow the 400 block of West 121st Street to be renamed “George Carlin Way.” And on Oct. 22 at 1 pm at the corner of West 121st Street and Amsterdam Ave, family, friends and the comedy community will come together for a day-long celebration.
Comedian Colin Quinn, Keith Olbermann, Kelly Carlin (George’s daughter) and Patrick Carlin (George’s older brother) will be on hand at a public unveiling for the street. “My dad would be thrilled with this honor,” Kelly says. “He loved the old neighborhood. He probably would have uttered a glowing expletive or two about the news.” Carlin, who died on June 28, 2008, referenced the neighborhood of Morningside Heights — aka “White Harlem” — in his jokes, most notably on his albums Class Clown and Occupation: Foole. (Listen below)
The Carlin celebration will continue that night at Carolines on Broadway at 7:30 pm when Colin Quinn will host The Seven Dirty Words: George Carlin is Finally Getting His ‘Way’ comedy show, which will feature Ted Alexandro, Jim Norton, Eddie Brill, Bartini and special guests.
As Laughspin reported this summer, the street naming movement faced significant pushback from the Corpus Cristi church located on West 121st Street, where Carlin attended services as a young boy— that is, until he reached the age of reason, as he famously joked. Bartini battled the local priest and a few Catholic parents of the neighborhood who protested the proposal. Eventually, however, George Carlin Way has passed through the city council moments after Democratic District 7 council member Mark Levine spoke on behalf of the renaming this past June 26. On July 9, de Blasio signed the order making it official.