Guaranteed to improve your English

Gallagher, Another Hero

Before I truly appreciated George Carlin, there was Gallagher.

When I was in junior high and high school, I looked forward to the Showtime specials featuring the prop comic best known for the Sledge-o-Matic and his smashing of watermelons. The smashing part didn’t interest me. What attracted me was the way Gallagher made you think about things. Sure, there were props all over the stage, but I was most hooked when he just stopped with the props and talked to the audience, calling it “gang.” I felt part of the gang even though I never saw the act in person.

Carlin made his fame on, among other things, making fun of the English language. In his 1982 Showtime special “Totally New,” so did Gallagher.

First, he talks about school and how “you go there to learn to communicate and all they say is, ‘No talking.'”

Later, he starts to ask language-related questions. Why are they called “cowboys” when cows are female? Why is a statue called a “bust” when it stops right below the part  for which it would be named? Why are they called “buildings” when they’re already done? Why is it called a “TV set” when you only get one? 

Next, he made fun of words: big is a little word, and little is twice as big. Then he made fun of words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently: good and food; bomb, tomb and comb; home and some; worse and horse; laughter and daughter; ache and mustache; beard and heard; go and do.

He asked, “Why should I be serious about the language when the language isn’t serious enough to make sense?”

I agree.

Until next time! Use the right words!


February 2, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

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