Comedian and 30 Rock actor Judah Friedlander hosted a benefit at the Gotham Comedy Club July 17 to rename a portion of New York City’s 121st Street George Carlin Way after the late comedian who grew up on the street.
“I had never met George Carlin, and I think he’s pretty amazing. With his career it’s not just quality but quantity. He was in his 70s and still doing stand-up and doing all new stuff and not relying on old jokes,” Friedlander said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Other comedians such as Lewis Black, Dave Attell, Lizz Winstead, Eddie Brill, Rory Albanese and Kevin Bartini rallied the cause and performed at the benefit. All night the comedians took their stab at Carlinesque humor straddling strange truths and offensiveness. Co-creator of The Daily Show Winstead said when a pro-lifer demands they wouldn’t pay “one penny for your birth control,” she responds with, “That’s funny – I’d pay any amount for yours.” Black, who recieved the most welcoming applause made an observation in the spirit of the late comedian with, “we’re going nowhere as a country. And if we are, I wanna know why we can’t get there faster?”
The Daily Show writer and executive producer Albanese pushed the Daily Show warm up comedian Bartini to follow through with his passive statement of why the street wasn’t already named after Carlin.
Though the petition meet some opposition from the Corpus Christi Church and a parochial school, religious institutions that reside on the stretch trying to be renamed, Bartini and Friedlander agreed to move the sign so it doesn’t incorporate the church and the school. The 80 letters against the renaming were overshadowed by the thousands of signatures petitioning to hoist the street sign George Carlin Way.