19. “Ask people why they have deer heads on their walls, and …”

GEORGE CARLIN DID NOT say this. It’s from Ellen DeGeneres.

Ask people why they have deer heads on their walls, and they tell you it’s because they’re such beautiful animals. I think my wife is beautiful, but I only have photographs of her on the wall.

Granted, Carlin didn’t care for hunting and made a few remarks about it (e.g. “You think hunting is a sport? Ask the deer.” from Playin’ With Your Head (1986)) but the line about the wife is a good hint that it’s not his. Carlin never really talked about his wife or made references to her in his act. In fact, the only exceptions I can think of off-hand are “Fussy Eater” from A Place for My Stuff (1981) (“Honey, is this good?”), or “People I Can Do Without” from What Am I Doing In New Jersey? (1988) (“A gynecologist who wants my wife to have 3 or 4 drinks before the examination”), but even then, that’s stretching it.

The reality is that this is a rewording of a joke from Ellen DeGeneres. She used to tell it in her stand-up act: “I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They say, ‘Because it’s such a beautiful animal.’ There you go. I think my mother’s attractive, but I have photographs of her.”

On a side note, there was an episode of Ellen titled “A Deer Head For Joe”, where Ellen’s new boss mounts a deer head on the wall of the office, which disturbs Ellen. However, the quote doesn’t appear there. (I was expecting it would, since other stand-up comedians who went on to make their own sitcoms – Tim Allen, Rosanne Barr, and of course George Carlin – ended up sticking in some of their origal stand-up material into the dialog of the episodes they’d do. But alas, no.)