June 23rd, 2008
10:59 AM ET

George Carlin, 1937-2008

One of the great joys of this job is that you occasionally get to meet your heroes. And they didn’t come much bigger, for me, than George Carlin.

I was the kind of kid who repeated Carlin lines and routines to my friends (and received more Carlin lines and routines in return). I watched his specials. When my wife and I went to Las Vegas in 2002, the one show we took in was Carlin’s.

So I was intimidated, to say the least, that day in late 2004 when he came by CNN Center for an interview. In Vegas, Carlin was at his best - which meant carving sacred cows into so much finely sliced meat. At one point in his show he poked fun at the name “Todd” (an easy name to make fun of, let me tell you). I didn’t want to end up on the end of his skewer.

But the Carlin I met was everything I’d hoped for - relaxed, friendly, thoughtful, humane. He was modest about his own accomplishments, and saved his harshest (and most hilarious) words for two of his favorite targets, politics and religion.

It was 30 minutes of heaven. Though I don’t know that a lapsed Catholic realist like Carlin would have used that word. (iReport: Share your thoughts on George Carlin)

Like many fans, I find myself thinking of my favorite Carlin routines today. “Tonight’s weather forecast: Dark. Continued mostly dark tonight, followed by widely scattered light in the morning.”

Baseball has the seventh-inning stretch. Football has the two-minute warning.”

“Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.”

I will miss him.

- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer

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