Dennis suggests Louis C.K.: Chewed Up (in Comedy). George Carlin is dead. And with him dies his particular brand of fearlessness for expressing aspects of the human condition, big and small, that other comics (and people) shy away from in timidity or hopelessly, boorishly mangle into offensively stale stereotypes and clichés (Blue Collar Comedy guys, I’m looking at you…). There’s Chris Rock, of course, but he can’t carry the comedy insight burden alone (especially now that Dennis Miller has apparently gone right-wing loony on us). And there’s Louis C. K. Never heard of him? Well, if you don’t recognize him from standup, his sadly-neglected series ‘Lucky Louie’, or his stint as a writer/performer on Rock’s late HBO show, let me describe: sort of a pale, red-haried, goateed lump of a guy with a voice you might remember from the great animated show ‘Home Movies’ (he was Brendan’s estranged dad). And he is as close to Carlin as we’ve got right now. Yeah, I said it. He might not be quite there yet, but he definitely gives of a Carlinian vibe, both with his sharpness of minute observation and his willingness to delve into comedic areas where, again, others are to afraid, or to lame, to tread. Race, sex, language, and all the ways we dance around those issues in order to get through the day and delude ourselves. Sound familiar? And again, just to be clear, C.K. doesn’t engage in this taboo-busting just to be shocking, or to appeal to the yahoo demographic, or to play that whole ‘I’m just sayin’ what everybody’s really thinkin when I [insert racist/sexist/homophobic ‘joke’ here] (again, Blue Collar boys…I’m looking in your direction). Nope, as with big George, Louis’ observations are grounded, at bottom, in humanism , and, like Carlin, he is all too willing to point out his own failings, no matter how embarrassing, or potentially-unappealing they make him look. So maybe he’s not Carlin yet, but he’s damned funny.