37. “One in three Americans …. “
There’s no evidence George Carlin said this. It’s likely not his line.
“One in three Americans suffer from mental illness. Think of two of your friends. If they’re OK, then it must be you.”
I haven’t been able to find this quotation in any of Carlin’s books, albums, or HBO specials. Some sources attribute a similar quotation to author Rita Mae Brown: “The statistics on insanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they’re okay, then it’s got to be you.” Though even then, nobody’s been able to show exactly where or when she said this.
I also remember the comedian Gallagher saying something really similar in the 80s, though I forget which special of his it was from (paraphrasing from memory: “…Look at the person to your left. Look at the person to your right. If they both seem OK, then guess what?”). Though it sounds like the old urban legend that Harvard freshman are told by their dean, “Look to your left. Look to your right. One of you three will not end up graduating!”, or some variation like that.
The joke also showed up on a mass-forwarded internet joke list from around 2000-2001 called “Life’s Reflections”. This particular list did include at least one authentic line (“Ever notice that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, but anyone going faster is a maniac?” – though Carlin’s real quote is worded slightly differently). But it also included many that clearly weren’t his. Also, not surprisingly, the list got changed by some people along the way, though still with no Carlin attribute to the quotation until years later.
So this sounds like a typical case of a random internet joke from a mass-forwarded joke list getting misattributed to Carlin.