38. “Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck”

There’s no evidence George Carlin said this. It’s likely not his line.

“Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck”

This is another quotation I see on-line from time to time, but I can’t find it on any of his albums or HBO specials, nor in any of his books. But there are many other problems with this:

  • The line used to show up in a mass-forwarded internet joke list, allegedly the results of a “yearly neologism contest” from The Washington Post. First of all, the Washington Post never had a “yearly neologism contest”. Washington Post columnist Bob Levey did however run a monthly neologism contest from 1983 until he retired in 2004.

  • Even then, the line doesn’t sound like something from Levey’s column. What Levey normally did was present a situation that people have seen before, and challenge readers to come up with a witty word to describe it. For example, his January 2002 column asked readers what one would call a person who orders a triple-decker hamburger with all the fixings, and a diet soft drink. The winning entry was “dijester”. Close seconds included “denieter” and “poptimist”. So somehow I doubt Levey asked his readers to give a word to describe the belief that when one dies, one’s soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.

  • By the way, back in the 80s comedian Rich Hall had Sniglets, “Any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should”. So these were words used to describe every-day things. For example “threek: a fork with a bent tine”.

  • Washington Post or no Washington Post, this simply doesn’t sound like something Carlin would say. He certainly had a lot of pieces on religion and especially the English language, and how some actual English words sound like they should have different meanings. However making up new words like “Frisbeetarianism” this to describe a belief that doesn’t exist was not something he ever really did. The only exception I can think of off-hand is from his Carlin on Campus (1984) performance when he refers to “vuja-de”, the feeling that somehow none of this has ever happened before. Which seems appropriate here, now that I think about it.