George Carlin's 'Stuff' Gets A New Home At National Comedy Center : The Two-Way His daughter, Kelly Carlin, has announced that she's donating her late father's archives to the museum, which is set to open next year in Jamestown, N.Y.
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George Carlin's 'Stuff' Gets A New Home At National Comedy Center

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George Carlin's 'Stuff' Gets A New Home At National Comedy Center

George Carlin's 'Stuff' Gets A New Home At National Comedy Center

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Jamestown, N.Y. will soon be getting some very valuable stuff that belonged to the late comedian George Carlin. He remains, of course, one of the most influential stand-up comedians of all time. And last night, his daughter, Kelly Carlin, announced she's donating his archives to the National Comedy Center, which opens next year in Jamestown. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has that story.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: Ah, the insights of George Carlin. Listen to what he says about our stuff.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GEORGE CARLIN: Everybody's got to have a little place for their stuff. That's all life is about. That's the meaning of life...

(LAUGHTER)

CARLIN: ...Trying to find a place to keep your stuff.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLIN: That's all your house is. Think of it. That's all your house is. It's a place to keep your stuff.

BLAIR: The keeper of George Carlin's stuff since his death is his daughter, Kelly. And she says he kept everything - scrapbooks, arrest records, the pink slip to his first car - a Dodge Dart - VHS tapes...

KELLY CARLIN: Handwritten notes of his actual working on comedy ideas to his kind of OCD-esque (ph) of making lists of things, like every routine he ever did on a late night show.

BLAIR: One artifact is a script he typed up for an appearance on "David Letterman." Handwritten notes are scribbled in the margins. Lines are crossed out with, did on "Leno," scrawled across. The words to one joke are changed from, lobster tails to, rack of lamb. The archives also include unreleased material.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CARLIN: Well, I was raised Catholic, and I'm still waiting for a new pope to choose the name Corky.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLIN: Wouldn't that be fun? His Holiness Pope Corky IX.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLIN: Well, I think you'll have to skip right to nine to give him a little bit credibility, don't you? Somehow to me, Pope Corky I doesn't command a great deal of authority.

KLIPH NESTEROFF: George Carlin had the eternal respect of every person in stand-up and still does. He's one of the most influential comedians of all time.

BLAIR: Kliph Nesteroff is the author of the book "The Comedians" and chief curator at the National Comedy Center. The museum is slated to open next year. Nesteroff says this is its first major donation, and it's significant.

NESTEROFF: George Carlin, more so probably than any other major comedian you could name, was a complete historian of his own career.

BLAIR: Kelly Carlin says she had fantasies of her dad's archives going to the Smithsonian. But then she feared his stuff would end up in a vault somewhere.

CARLIN: I wanted my dad to be a star. My dad liked to be the star. You know, I mean, he was a humble man. But he also knew that he had a place. And I wanted his place in comedy to be really honored that way.

BLAIR: To experience Carlin's meticulous archives of some 50 years in comedy, fans will need to make the pilgrimage to far western New York. Jamestown is a city dedicated to comedy. It's Lucille Ball's hometown and home to an annual comedy festival, now in its 25th year. Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CARLIN: I enjoy chaos and disorder...

(LAUGHTER)

CARLIN: Not just because they help me professionally.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLIN: It's also my hobby. You see, I'm an entropy fan. When I first heard of entropy in high school science, I was attracted to it immediately. When they told me that in nature, all systems are breaking down, I thought, what a good thing. What a good thing, perhaps I can make some small contribution in this area myself.

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