16. Can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse


The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post “Thou shalt not steal”, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, and “Thou shalt not lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.

Older versions have this as the third part of a 3-part routine called “Cows, the Constitution and the Ten Commandments”.

It’s true that Carlin had a long rant about the Ten Commandments on his 2001 album and HBO special, Complaints and Grievances (2001), but Carlin didn’t say the above quote. This seems like a typical case of some anonymous joke list getting shared around the internet and later getting misattributed to George Carlin. We’ve seen this especially happens whenever the piece involves observational humor, US government criticism, or religious criticism – and this one has all three! Then again, some websites even misattribute the piece to Larry the Cable Guy, so go figure. I’ve also seen at least one book, “Everybody for Everybody” by Samuel A. Nigro, credit the third part of the quote to Mike Miesch, whoever that is.

Regardless, there’s really no evidence that Carlin ever said it, and it bears the usual signs of being a fake: it’s nowhere to be found in Carlin’s works, and the Carlin attribution didn’t happen until well after it made its rounds on the internet.