George Carlin celebrates a milestone - 50 years in comedy

He is coming up on 50 years in show business, 70 years on the planet and he has been battling heart trouble for decades. But George Carlin says this is no time to slow down.

"Pablo Casals, the cellist, you heard of him?" Carlin asked as he spoke briefly by phone recently before leaving for the U.S. Comedy Festival in Aspen, Colo., where he formally kicked off his 50th anniversary celebration this week.

"Pablo Casals was 94 and still practicing three hours a day and someone said to him, 'Why do you still practice three hours a day?' And he said, 'I'm beginning to notice some improvement."'

Also, life gets easier as one approaches 70, says the comedian, who reaches that milestone on May 12 and whose comedy routines and everyday conversation are still sprinkled liberally with what he has famously described as "the seven words you can never say on television."

"What's great about being an old person," he says, "is you never have to really pick up a suitcase anymore if you don't want to. You can always say, 'Will you help me with that?' And it's, 'Oh, yeah, sure, give me that, where you going?' People will carry anything for you."

Not that he cannot still carry his own bags. Although he has suffered for decades from the coronary artery disease that runs in his family, Carlin says he has learned to control it through a strict diet, reports AP.

"My father gave me this disease," he said. "But he also gave me my gift of gab, my sense of humor. So what the ... . It was a good trade-off."

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