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George Carlin heads for Aspen comedy fest

Though he’s approaching 50 years in show business, 70 years on the planet and decades of heart trouble, George Carlin says this is no time to slow down.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Though he’s approaching 50 years in show business, 70 years on the planet and decades of heart trouble, George Carlin says this is no time to slow down.

“Pablo Casals, the cellist, you heard of him?” Carlin asked as he spoke briefly by phone recently before leaving for the U.S. Comedy Festival in Aspen, Colo., where he kicked off his 50th anniversary celebration this week.

“Pablo Casals was 94 and still practicing three hours a day and someone said to him, ‘Why do you still practice three hours a day?’ And he said, ‘I’m beginning to notice some improvement.”’

Also, life gets easier as one approaches 70, said the comedian, who reaches that milestone on May 12 and whose comedy routines and everyday conversation are still sprinkled liberally with what he has famously described as “the seven words you can never say on television.”

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“What’s great about being an old person,” he said, “is you never have to really pick up a suitcase anymore if you don’t want to. You can always say, ‘Will you help me with that?’ And it’s, ‘Oh, yeah, sure, give me that, where you going?’ People will carry anything for you.”

Not that he can’t still carry his own bags. Although he has suffered for decades from the coronary artery disease that runs in his family, Carlin said he’s learned to control it through a strict diet.

“My father gave me this disease,” he said. “But he also gave me my gift of gab, my sense of humor. So what the ... . It was a good trade-off.”