1973 October 30

Cover Your Ears! George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words Broadcast


The Pacifica radio station WBAI in New York City broadcast comedian George Carlin’s monologue with the soon-to-be famous seven dirty words at 2 p.m. on this day. The seven words were: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. A parent complained to the FCC after he and his son heard the monologue while driving in the family car. The FCC censured Pacifica, (but chose not to take more drastic action) and held that the words in the monologue were “patently offensive.” The Supreme Court upheld the censure and the power of the FCC to ban the seven dirty words, in FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, on July 3, 1978.

The original monologue, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” is on the 1972 Carlin LP/CD Class Clown. A longer follow-up, “Filthy Words,” is on Carlin’s next LP/CD Occupation Foole (1973). The transcript is readily available on the web, but you have to listen carefully to the monologue to get the full effect of the words.

Carlin was inspired by comedian Lenny Bruce, who ran afoul of the law on several occasions (including October 4, 1961, November 4, 1964, and December 23, 2003) for his language and his satirical attacks on American hypocrisy regarding race, sex and religion.

In March 2015 the Library of Congress honored George Carlin by placing his Class Clown album, with its famous seven dirty words monologue, on the National Recording Registry, a preserved collection of America’s greatest cultural, artistic and historical recordings.

Get the CDs, listen to the famous monologue: George Carlin, Class Clown (1972) and Occupation Foole (1973)

Watch Carlin’s famous seven dirty words monologue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqvLTJfYnik

Learn more: James Sullivan, Seven Dirty Words: The Life and Crimes of George Carlin (2010)

Learn more about the FCC’s regulation of indecency: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/madison/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/FirstReport.Indecency.Levi_.final_.pdf

Visit the official Lenny Bruce website: http://www.lennybruceofficial.com/

Visit the Pacifica Foundation here.

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