George Denis Patrick Carlin was an American comedian, writer, social critic, and actor who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums. Carlin was noted for his black comedy as well as his thoughts on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. Carlin and his "Seven dirty words" comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a 5–4 decision by the justices affirmed the government's power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves. One newspaper called Carlin "the dean of counterculture comedians."
The first of his 14 stand-up comedy specials for HBO was filmed in 1977. From the late 1980s, Carlin's routines focused on sociocultural criticism of modern American society. He often commented on contemporary political issues in the United States and satirized the excesses of American culture. In 2004, Carlin was placed second on the Comedy Central list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians, ahead of Lenny Bruce and behind Richard Pryor.