There are performers who live comfortably within the confines of an envelope, and performers who gently nudge at the envelope, and there are those artists who push vigorously at the envelope, seeking to change and uproot stale societal norms.
Then there's George Carlin, an icon who not only had nothing to do with the envelope that confines many comedy-makers, but who wouldn't even drive by the envelope store if he had a map. Mr. Carlin, in short, went well beyond the envelope-pushing boundaries into idol- and institution-tweaking territory, the kind of comedy that ripples into the acts of a thousand other comedians over decades to come.
The Grammy Museum wants to celebrate his one-of-a-kind legacy, and so it shall, with a new exhibit called "A Place for My Stuff." The show runs at the LA Live-based music-and-performance repository from Wednesday, Sept. 30 through March 2016.
The name of the exhibit recalls one of the comedian's best-known bits, which takes on our obsession with material goods ("your house is just a place for your stuff"). But the stuff found within the Grammy Museum show isn't made up of mere knickknacks for your shelf but rather the seeds and inspirations that went into Mr. Carlin's long career in comedy.
Scrapbooks from his youth will be on display and a script, too, from the film "Dogma," and set lists from his televised performances. His public arrest record is in the mix, too.
It has been over a half decade since Mr. Carlin passed away at the age of 71, but his forceful viewpoints and refusal to toe any lines presented to him by the rule-makers continues to galvanize those going into the mic-and-brick-wall business of making laughs.
George Carlin is the third comedian honored at the Grammy Museum with a show; Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers each had their own exhibits, too. It's no surprise, and comedy fans should expect more, as the Grammys reward spoken word albums as well as music, and all comedians honored so far have been in the Grammy spotlight.
Surely having an exhibit in a big institution full of learning and displays would have tickled the iconoclastic comedian, just a little? Few envelope-pushers have been as skilled or legendary, and that surely deserves some love from a lofty museum.