On October 11, 1975, George Carlin kicked off the first ever episode of Saturday Night Live.
After entering the stage through the audience, Carlin recited “Baseball and Football” from his new album “An Evening with Wally Londo, Featuring Bill Slazso”.
Carlin wanted to wear a t-shirt, but the network wanted him to wear a suit. As a compromise, Carlin wore a vest and jacket over his t-shirt, and hosted the show while reportedly stoned out of his mind.
George Carlin: Thank you! Talk about a live show! It’s nice to see you, welcome, and thanks for joining us – live. Um.. I’m kinda glad that we’re on at night, so that we’re not competing with all the football and baseball. So many, man.. And this is the time of year when there’s both, you know?
Football’s kinda nice, they changed it a little bit – they moved the hash marks in. Guys found it and smoked them, anyway! But you know, football wants to be the number-one sport, the national pastime. And I think it already is, really, because football represents something we are – we are Europe, Jr. When you get right down to it, we’re Europe, Jr. We play a Europe game. What was the Europe game? [high voice] “Let’s take their land away from them! You’ll be the pink, on up; we’ll be blue, the red and the green!”
Ground acquisition. And that’s what football is, football’s a ground acquisition game. You knock the crap out of eleven guys and take their land away from them. Of course, we only do it ten yards at a time. That’s the way we did it with the Indians – we won it little by little. First down in Ohio – Midwest to go!
Let’s put it this way – there are things about the words surrounding football and baseball, which give it all away:
Football is technological; baseball is pastoral.
Football is played in a stadium; baseball is played in the park.
In football, you wear a helmet; in baseball, you wear a cap.
Football is played on an enclosed, rectangular grid, and everyone of them is the same size; baseball is played on an ever-widening angle that reaches to infinity, and every park is different!
Football is rigidly timed; baseball has no time limit, we don’t know when it’s gonna end! We might even have extra innings!
In football, you get a penalty; in baseball, you make an error – whoops!
The object in football is to march downfield and penetrate enemy territory, and get into the end zone; in baseball, the object is to go home! “I’m going home!”
And, in football, they have the clip, the hit, the block, the tackle, the blitz, the bomb, the offense and the defense; in baseball, they have.. the sacrifice.