Despite Catholic Opposition, Comedian George Carlin Will Have a Street Named After Him

Last October, Kevin Bartini began a petition to name a New York City street — the one George Carlin lived on — after the famed comedian:

That idea didn’t go over so well with the local Catholic leaders. There’s a church on that street and Carlin was no fan of religion:

The Corpus Christi community is opposed to the renaming because we feel that George Carlin and his comedy do not accurately reflect the values we uphold,” Connor Hailey, vice-chairman of the church’s Parish Council, and a freshman in Columbia College, says. Indeed, Carlin had included his rejection of the church’s values in routines…

They say that as if it were a bad thing…

Anyway, the local community board just approved a compromise.

George Carlin will have a street named after him… but it’ll be the next street over from Corpus Christi Church.

The 25-4 vote of Community Board 9, with three abstentions, sends the renaming on to the City Council, which is expected to include it in its next semiannual bulk-street-renaming bill. Those usually pass without controversy.

The block that would become George Carlin Way is the 400 block, between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive. Mr. Carlin, who died in 2008, grew up on the 500 block, between Amsterdam and Broadway.

It’s a great honor for a brilliant man.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://twitter.com/Jourreve Reve

    Awesome to see that worked out! The compromise seems fair enough — I mean, I’d be a little unhappy if the street I lived on was suddenly renamed “Pat Robertson Drive” or something. (I’m not comparing George Carlin to Pat, mind.)

    • John Las Vegas

      I would be a little unhappy too, but I would still have to discard my unsolicited free gift of return address stickers. I don’t have a community board I can intimidate enough to force them to rename someone else’s block instead.  

  • Guest

    Actors are really important people. They get streets named after them and in a certain country they get knighted too. It must be real important job to provide entertainment for people who need to be entertained by others. Such great men actors are.

    • oambitiousone

       He was more writer than actor.

    • Coyotenose

       I’m sorry that you’re so desperate for talking points that you speak despite being vastly ignorant how much Carlin has helped advance the dialogue on key issues. It must be very painful wanting to “get” the blogger so badly.

      It’s also disappointing that you feel superior to culture despite, again, being ignorant of how we depend on it. Not surprising, just disappointing.

    • Don Gwinn

      You can find a way to denigrate just about anyone’s job (I’m a glorified babysitter/storyteller myself, though I have pretensions about teaching math and language) but George Carlin was brilliant.  I believe people who say they didn’t like him, or didn’t agree with him, or thought he was mean to their group, but I don’t believe people who say he wasn’t important.

      • Coyotenose

         Well said.

    • ZenDruid

       There isn’t a member of the clergy who isn’t an actor or storyteller. They’re not the great ones though.

  • Jason Horton

    Couldn’t the church have moved instead?

    • jeffj900

      Or just be torn down as punishment for insulting the memory of George Carlin? ;)

    • JohnnieCanuck

      The church missed a great opportunity to be persecuted. Persecution is important as it can get you into heaven, perhaps when you otherwise wouldn’t.

      Besides, it was the devil in him that made Carlin point out all those horrible things about the Catholic Church and the devil is everywhere so they still aren’t safe.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

      *This* is the funniest thing I’ve read in days!
      Thanks, Jason!

  • cipher

    The Corpus Christi community is opposed to the renaming because we feel that George Carlin and his comedy do not accurately reflect the values we uphold

    You mean a value such as eternal damnation of everyone who disagrees with you? Yeah, he probably doesn’t.

    Obnoxious little git.

  • George Wiman

    So if an English loyalist lived on “George Washington street” he’d have the right to protest? A segregationist living on “Martin Luther King Drive”? An anti-vaxxer on “Jonas Salk parkway”?

    And yes, anonymous person who posted previously; actors can be very important people. If they use their fame to say something that needs to be said.

    • JD929

      Like anyone else, he has a right of protest, but no right to get their way.

    • jemiller226

      To be fair, what makes you think an anti-vaxxer would know who Jonas Salk was?

  • Don Gwinn

    That’ll be a fun story for Carlin geeks to tell their kids in the future.  
    “Hey, kids, we’re on George Carlin Way!  It’s named after George Carlin.  He was from this neighborhood. . . . can you guess which street he lived on?”
    “Uhh . . . . this one?”
    “Nope!  One block over.  See, they wanted to name that street after him back in ’12, but there was a Catholic church on the street and back then, the Catholics still had a lot of power.  They got it stopped because they didn’t like how Carlin had pointed out how silly Catholicism was.”
    “But Catholics do have all kinds of weird rituals and they . . .”
    “It was a very different time, little Cindy.  Very different.”

  • Baby_Raptor

    Why should the city give two wanks what the church thinks? Self-important much?

  • cipher

    Fine; let’s name it for a value for which the Church does stand.

    I nominate “Buggered Little Boy Avenue”.

  • Good and Godless

    No more “Church Street”…
    No more “Saint” anything…
    Or add an equal number of  anti religious names. 

    As godless is the middle ground.

  • TheExpatriate700

    I would start up a petition to have the church’s street named after Thomas Jefferson. You see, if you read Jefferson’s letters, he had a very low opinion of Catholicism. Let’s see if they dare oppose that.

  • C Peterson

    A Tale of Two Streets

    John Cardinal O’Connor Way

    Dedicated in 2001, marking the section of East 50th Street between Fifth and Madison, bordering St. Patrick’s Cathedral and O’Connor’s residence.

    O’Connor, who used fear and intimidation on behalf of a non-existent entity to manipulate millions of weak minded people, who illegally used political influence to pressure politicians into legislative decisions that negatively affected countless people, denied them basic human rights, and almost certainly resulted in deaths around the world. An extreme homophobe who vilified millions of people for the way they were born. A church leader who was almost certainly complicit in the rampant coverups of priestly sexual abuse that occurred during his times.

    George Carlin Way

    Hopefully to be dedicated in 2012, marking a section of West 121st Street on block from the home Carlin lived in.

    Carlin, a comedian, used humor and a biting wit to challenge people’s beliefs. He never sought to tell people the right way to think, or to pressure them into any beliefs, but framed ideas in ways that allowed people to come to their own conclusions about whether social norms were rational, ethical, or made good sense. A lifelong supporter of civil rights for all, Carlin was outspoken in advancing, through his comedy, the rights of women, of blacks, of latinos, of gays, and many other oppressed minorities.

    I know which street I’d rather live on!

  • jeffj900

    I find it disappointing that George Carlin Way will not include the actual building or location Carlin lived in, simply because the church exerts way more influence than it deserves to. What did all the other residents of that block feel?

    Here is the greatest irony:

    we feel that George Carlin and his comedy do not accurately reflect the values we uphold

    If the church actually upheld the values of its teacher Jesus, it would find forgiveness and compassion for Carlin, not hostility, rejection, and disdain. It’s clear the church doesn’t uphold the values it thinks it does.

  • RobertoTheChi

    The catholic church sucks the life out of something again. Why would the city care what these pedophiles think?

  • David McNerney

    That’s strange because I thought he was very accurate in his representation of religious values.


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