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The Cody Blog: RTR: George Carlin Loses Touch

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

RTR: George Carlin Loses Touch

I've laughed at a lot of George Carlin's comedy over the years. He's a funny man, that's for sure. Sometimes his jokes are full of wisdom and statement on society.

My favorite line of him "Flipping it":

Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.

For this edition of Random Tuesday Review, I look at his latest show. On Saturday night, I attended his HBO special -- "Life is Worth Losing". At the risk of making too easy a pun -- this skit was worth losing.

The only part of the show that had any relevance and insight was the beginning as he listed off all kinds of modern-catch phrases and poked fun at --- well, I have to say I sure heard some funny phrases describing people like me in that rant.

The next hour and ten minutes were spent listening to Carlin desperately trying to get us to laugh at things that conventional wisdom would say is too sacred to laugh at. Some very sad topics including cannibalism and genocide. And the customary gross topics such as -- and I quote: "Pussy farts".

But his handling of that last phrase underscored how he's no longer topical --- I'll bet he doesn't even know the more current term for that physics phenomenon.

And when he was ranting about the supposed lack of parental accountability in today's world (talk about a stupid conventional wisdom that he could have actually flipped to drive home a point --- how about how better parents have gotten in the last fifty years!) he was forced to harken back to the ol' Judas Priest being sued for some kid's suicide. Wasn't that like 20 years ago? How about joining the 90s, George?

Sure, he did some good shocking jokes. But an entire skit based on shock isn't very funny or even smart. Especially when the anecdotes and references are so out of touch.

I give Carlin's "Life is Worth Losing" show a Cody Rating of 3 out of 10. Next!


Blogger Barry Ritholtz said...

skit? Man you are out of touch! That's such a 1980's term.

For the past decade or so, its been called "a bit."

That's almost as bad as calling a quiff ("kwee-Fffff") a pussyfart!

11/10/2005 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger aexapo said...

You said, "The next hour and ten minutes were spent listening to Carlin desperately trying to get us to laugh at things that conventional wisdom would say is too sacred to laugh at. Some very sad topics including cannibalism and genocide."

I watched the show on HBO this week, and while I did notice a problem in delivery (I'm thinking he's out of step due to a recent rehab stint), I'm not sure if I understand the inferred criticism of his content. When has George Carlin's routine ever been about anything other than getting us to laugh about "sacred things?" Again, I agree that he mostly failed at getting the laughs, but the territory was typical Carlinville -- all the way.

11/11/2005 01:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike McCurdy said...

Man oh man. I'm 53 and grew up listening to Carlin, starting with Sullivan and Carson and well into the 'hippie thing' - George was always clever and brilliant, offering tremendous insights and a great delivery.

I saw him in concert about 5 years ago and I was saddened to see that he was becoming a 'bitter old man.' As that show went on, he began ranting about how f'ed up everything was (well no kidding George) and did it in a very unfunny way. Insights? Clever? No.

I could only watch about 10 minutes of the HBO thing and just based off of that, I'm not sure I'd even give him a '3'.

Having seen him go from funny to brilliant to this, at this point I just want to see him get off of the stage now so that he can salvage his legacy.

To me, it's actually pretty tragic.

2/27/2006 07:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw his show last night at the rosemont theater in Illinois. I am so glad I didnt pay for thoese tickets because he really stunk! I walked out about 3/4 of the was through when he found it funny to talk about tean suaside. haha really funny George and get off you bullshit about what a fucked up country we live in ... where else could a lame show like yours draw that many people.

3/11/2006 01:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cody Willard is fuckin' retarded!

3/15/2006 03:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You fuckin pussies, this shit really got to you huh? I'm pretty sure george mentioned your ass in the skit, that's probaly why you got offended and disliked his shit. Whatever, I love Carlin's character. He's the shit!

3/15/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out of touch? You don't know George at all. This is classic Carlin. "Life is Worth Losing" is the blend of old school carlin rants and ideas mixed with new age perversion. You have abolutely no idea what you're talking about so, as Mr. Carlin puts it so bluntly in one of his earlier specials, blow it out your ass you fuckin' cocksucker.

The opening BIT alone shows that he is still among the top comedians alive. He's 75 years old with a failing heart, cut him some slack. His gross material on pussy farts, dingleberries, and cornholing is gross for most people but for Carlin, it's mild.

With the thing on suicide, AEA, and especially the teen portion in this show you still have the audacity to say he is out of touch? He hasn't changed, you have. The suicide note is much like the opener. Pure genius.

But George Carlin talking about how fucked up things are and about things that are scary and politically incorrect. Who would have thought he'd stoop that low? I mean, i'm used to him opening for Bill Cosby.

Now the part about the dead pussies was a new low for him. He's much better than that so that is the only thing i can see knocking his score down. However the ending saved everything. If, heaven forbit, this is Carlin's last HBO special that was the way to go out. The same way you came in, great. He was basically preaching to us but right before things got to bleak that we ran out and commited suicide, he turns it around and makes us laugh and in an odd way gives us a decent out look on life.

Now was this Carlin's best? Of course not. But you can't remake Class Clown. You can't redo Carnegie Hall. That's like telling the beatles, "The White Album was good, now make an encore 25 years later after you get out of rehab". And for the jack ass who said he's turned into a "bitter old man", you're right. He started as a bitter man, then a bitter middle aged man, and now finally is a bitter old man. Now all of you who enjoy decent comidy and said anything remotely negative about George Carlin, go say 1000 Hail Mary's and hit yourself. In time, you may be forgive. Until then, would you like to come be on my new T.V. show? It's called Extreme Living. You can ever wear the Jump Cam

7/12/2006 01:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who does this Cody Willard think he is?

2/04/2007 01:04:00 AM  
Blogger roveberg said...

Here's a balanced review from someone who knows George Carlin's work inside out and really gets him. Me.

George Carlin has always changed and evolved. In the old days it was purely observational comedy. The simple stuff.

But also, back in the day - and I don't know this firsthand because I'm too young - a lot of folk were shocked and abhorred by Carlin's "List of Words You Can't Say on Television". It was brave and open-minded folks who watched and enjoyed him.

Then in 1988's "New Jersey", for the very first time (apart from briefly mentioning abortion at the opening of "Carnegie"), he launched into a TOPICAL rant, beginning with the Reagan administration. During that show he touched on religion, the FCC, gun control, and a number of other topics. The "RANT" was new ground for him, but it got the laughs.

It continued with 1990's "Doin' It Again". Then in 1992 he released arguably his finest HBO special ever, "Jammin' in New York". At his peak he riffed on the war in the Persian Gulf and the US foreign policy, about how he LIKES major disasters and people suffering, and his take on the environment.
A life-changing show, for me. My perspectives were altered.

He followed a similar theme throughout the 90's, expanding on abortion, terrorism and religion, and all the while further attacking American culture.

In 2001, possibly due to 9/11 and New York's sensitivity to political issues, he made a small, light-hearted mention about the War on Terrorism, but he made sure to spend the rest of the show BACK on his old turf of observational comedy once again. This time, though, it was observational RANTS - all the things that pissed him off. Funnnnnyyyy shit. ("Guys named TOODDDDDDDDDD" haha)

And that brings us to "Life is Worth Losing". At nearly 70 you have a very different perspective on the world and life. He began by a brain-busting 3 1/2 minute "Modern Man" opener all from memory. Then, after a career of lifting taboos from language, to politics, to social issues, poking fun at nearly every facet of the human psyche, he brought it all home with a thundering cascade of condemnation on humanity. He followed this by a stream-of-consciousness style, almost acid-trip vision of a world apocalypse, triggered by a simple event down-town.

Look at his body of work as a WHOLE. This a genius of an elderly man here, imparting some truth and justice through comedy.

Shutup and listen. You might learn a thing or two, you goddamn cretans.

3/20/2007 11:38:00 PM  

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