Laughing Matters: George Carlin, “Baseball and Football”

Sometimes comedy illuminates hard truths with a pointed urgency that other means can’t quite achieve. Sometimes comedy is just funny. This series of posts is mostly about the former instances, but the latter is valuable, too.

When I was young, I chose baseball. I lived in a state where the yard-by-yard battle over the pigskin reigned, thanks to an irresistible fervor stirred up around the Green Bay Packers. (I use “irresistible” because I am not immune to the magnetic pull of the green and gold, especially when the playoffs come banging at the calendar.) But I also grew up at the precise time that Chicago’s WGN took advantage of a growing cable television market that didn’t have enough channels to fill out a modest dial. Back then, WGN aired practically every game played by the Chicago Cubs, and all of their team’s home games were played during the day. Throughout the summer, I was home from school and clicking over to channel 9 with the hope of finding cartoons. Instead, I found America’s Pastime.

My connection to baseball was so complete and enveloping that I had an equal appreciation for any instance that the sport infiltrated other parts of the culture I liked, whether movies, television, comics, or stand-up comedy. And no one broke down the intricacies of facets of U.S. culture — from the weighty to the silly — than George Carlin. To my eager ears, “Baseball and Football” routine seemed to be implicitly voicing the same preference I had, but, truthfully, it’s probably fairly bipartisan. Either way, it’s a delight.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Laughing Matters” tag.

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