Class Clown

Class Clown
Live album by George Carlin
Released September 29, 1972
Recorded May 27, 1972, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, California
Genre Comedy
Length 48:03
Label Little David/Atlantic
George Carlin chronology
Class Clown
Occupation: Foole

Class Clown is the third comedy album released by American comedian George Carlin. It was recorded May 27, 1972 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California, and released in September.

At the time he was relatively well-known for tame satirical routines about the entertainment industry. His previous album FM & AM released the same year, showed that he was already drifting towards counter-culture icon, but Class Clown proved a landmark. Besides musings about his youth, the album featured strongly directed remarks against the Vietnam War and his attachment to taboo topics. The highlight of the album is easily the concise "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television", which became the focus of government harassment in the year that followed, and, perhaps not coincidentally, Carlin's most famous calling card. Carlin would continue to explore the use of profanity for the rest of his career. Apart from this segment, Class Clown is Carlin's only profanity-free album since 1971.

In the liner notes, Carlin dedicates the album to Lenny Bruce, "for taking all the risks". He also lists all the nuns and priests that worked at Corpus Christi School which he had attended as a child, and who are spoken of at length through the album. In a 2004 appearance on Inside the Actors Studio (episode 1013), Carlin explained that, "I wanted people to know that the disrespect that I had for the dogmatic aspect, and for the inconsistency, and in a lot of cases the cruelty of Catholic doctrine, was tempered with an affection and a gratitude that I had for this wonderful setting that I considered like a garden... where they let me grow... be a creative person and think for myself there, so I kind of wanted to kind of illustrate that, and go, thanks and no thanks".

Class Clown was reissued by Atlantic Records in 2000. It was also included as part of the 1992 Classic Gold collection, and The Little David Years (1971-1977) box set in 1999.

On June 22, 2008, Carlin died of heart failure in Santa Monica, the same city where he recorded the album.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars link


Track listing

All tracks by George Carlin.

Side one

  1. "Class Clown" – 16:06
  2. "Wasted Time - Sharing a Swallow" – 2:27
  3. "Values (How Much Is That Dog Crap in the Window?)" – 5:16

Side two

  1. "I Used to Be Irish Catholic" – 2:57
  2. "The Confessional" – 4:12
  3. "Special Dispensation - Heaven, Hell, Purgatory and Limbo" – 3:41
  4. "Heavy Mysteries" – 1:59
  5. "Muhammad Ali - America the Beautiful" – 4:35
  6. "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" – 7:03


  • Peter Abbott – editing, remixing
  • Barry Feinstein – photography, production design

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