MPI // 1990 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // August 9th, 2005
"I got a lot of good ideas. The trouble is, most of them suck."
The comedy that George Carlin has generated with over four decades of television, film and stage work under his belt is legendary. From humble beginnings, he reinvented himself in the late '60s and early '70s into a "hippie" comic, and became a tremendous success. His comedy albums routinely achieved platinum status (1 million copies of a comedy album was unheard of), he frequently won Grammys for them, and his sense of humor was on par with Richard Pryor's. Much like Lenny Bruce, who he worked with in his early days, Carlin had a legal battle that resulted in a ruling affecting TV viewing to this day. Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" material is responsible for the Supreme Court's 1978 ruling on FCC regulations that we're "lucky" enough to have today, and his monologue is remembered for those reasons. The reason Carlin's material is brilliant is the way he manages to deftly diffuse any shock value in the words themselves. Among Carlin's other gems are his skewering of airline lingo ("What does 'pre-boarding' the plane mean? To get on before you get on?") and his love of sports ("Any guy who takes a job where you gotta puke first in my kind of guy").
George Carlin's support from HBO has been long-standing since the channel's origins in the mid '70s, dutifully airing each stand-up special Carlin produces. Recorded in 1990 and entitled Doin' It Again, the material on this special is Carlin's 7th with HBO, and later evolved into material for his album "Parental Advisory." Carlin provides the audience with the boundaries of speech he will be using during the show, followed by a hilarious diatribe on the common intelligence level of man ("Just think that of all the stupid people; half of them are stupider than that!"). What follows next is a series of jokes that leaves political correctness in the dust. When a fifty-three year old comic can makes jokes about rape and feminism and gets away with it like Carlin does, it's a testament to his genius. He then touches on things you never see ("You never see a big tall fat Chinese guy with red hair.") or hear ("Do what you want to the girl, but leave me alone!"). He even touches on things you don't want to hear ("I'm pregnant, you're the father, and I'm going to kill all three of us!"). He wraps up the hour long concert with a perfect illustration of what society has done with the language. While words are just words (in Carlin's opinion), they are still powerful things. When war veterans go from being "shell-shocked" to experiencing "post-traumatic stress disorder," doesn't it give you the perception that the illness isn't as bad? The performance is a reminder of just how remarkable Carlin is. To this day, in his late sixties, Carlin continues to plug away and inform the country about the general state of things. What keeps him successful is that his current material still brings chuckles to a lot of people, and to continue that success, he will be filming another HBO special, his 13th, in late 2005.
MPI has released Carlin's HBO appearances over the last 4 years, and this latest release appears to be the same as a two-pack released in 2000. Coming straight from a video broadcast, it reproduces the full screen effect decently with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track that doesn't serve much purpose. We are talking about a monologue after all, but an excellent one which comedy fans should check. Any of Carlin's specials or best-selling books (which harvest for 30 years of material) should be issued to each junior high school student.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 1990
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* George Carlin: Back in Town Review
* George Carlin: Complaints and Grievances Review
* George Carlin's Official Site