Sunday, March 2, 2008

George Carlin, before and after

George Carlin did his latest live concert special on HBO last night. It was material I’d seen him perform last October, so I didn’t sit through the whole thing again. Not his best stuff ever.

The special will be repeated throughout this month, and it’s available On Demand. In case you want to watch out of respect.

And Carlin deserves maximum respect for his influence on the art of standup comedy.

I wanted to interview Carlin in the late 1980s. But my boss at the Washington Times said he wasn’t worth writing about. George Carlin. Not worth writing about. That’s the only time I can think of when the right-wing tilt of the Washington Times cramped my style.

Anyway, I’m streaming a couple of blasts from Carlin’s past. One comes from his first solo album, “Take-Offs and Put-Ons,” which came out in 1967... back when Carlin was still clean-cut and a little corny.

Click here to hear “Wonderful WINO,” a riff on Top-40 radio.

By his next LP – “Class Clown” in 1972 – Carlin had gone hippie. That album contains his most famous routine of all time: “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.”

But I’m not streaming that one. Instead, click here and enjoy “Muhammad Ali – America the Beautiful.”


DeAngelo Starnes said...

Dave, I hear you on Carlin. How can a person fix their mouths to say Carlin is not worth writing about. He goes beyond comedian. He's a humorist, a social commentator. Bill Cosby is a comedian. Robin Williams is a comedian. But Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and Paul Mooney? Humorists, social commentators. Good job.

Jackie said...

I hear you on Carlin. He, like Pryor go way beyond comedy. They tell the truth and force us to see it. Love Carlin. Thanks for the heads up on the new show.

Eric said...

Sometime in the mid-90s I remember hearing a piece of a Carlin monologue where he said that he loves to flip channels on the TV and come across disaster footage. In fact his ideal TV channel would just be video of airplanes crashing into buildings all day. It's kind of haunted me, and soured me on Carlin since 9/11. (A bit irrational, but there you are.)

Has anyone else ever heard that bit? Did I hallucinate it? Anyone able to point at it online or even for sale anywhere?

Dan Coyle said...

Eric: you didn't hallucinate it- he's said similar things in his books.

Of course, after 9/11 he changed the name of his latest special, "I kinda like it when a lotta people die" to "Complaints and Greviances."

Invisible Woman said...

I didn't know there was a time when George Carlin didn't look like a grouchy old man! haha

dez said...

I still remember when he used to use a typewriter as a prop. He may be the crankiest cranky old man who ever cranked now, but I will always love the misanthropic bastige.

Undercover Black Man said...

He may be the crankiest cranky old man who ever cranked now...

Artful, subtle "Simpsons" reference acknowledged. Well done, dez. :^)

dez said...

^At least you know where that originated. Most people think it's from TWoP cuz it's overused there :-)