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September 3, 2015

HBO to re-air classic George Carlin concerts

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 24th 2008 12:04PM
George Carlin on stoolThe unexpected death of Tim Russert two weeks ago prompted numerous tributes and memorials from NBC and MSNBC, but because Russert was a news personality, they really couldn't re-air Meet the Press episodes or the night of the 2000 election to really show Tim Russert's substantive work.

The death of comedian George Carlin on Sunday was just as shocking -- and also attributed to a heart ailment -- but for Mr. Carlin there are many hours of his work available and relevant to rebroadcast. It'll give audiences a chance to re-appreciate his unique brand of comedy. In his long tenure with HBO, George starred in 14 comedy specials. Now, you'll be able to see a few of them one more time.

HBO is presenting a series of encore presentations, including his last concert, George Carlin: It's Bad for You, on Friday, June 27, at 9 o'clock (ET) on HBO (the main channel). The show debuted in March. But that's not all.

HBO has gone into the vault and will present 11 George Carlin specials. They'll air on HBO2 over two nights: on Wednesday, June 25 from 8 o'clock p.m. to 2 o'clock a.m., back to back, they'll show: George Carlin at USC (1977); George Carlin Again! (1978); Carlin at Carnegie (1983); Carlin on Campus (1984); and Playin' with Your Head (1986).

Then, on Thursday, June 26, starting at 8 o'clock p.m.: What Am I Doing in New Jersey? (1988); Doin' It Again (1990); Jammin' in New York (1992); Back in Town (1996); You Are All Diseased (1999); and, finally, It's Bad for Ya (2008).

I know that I will be DVR'ing all 11 hours, even though I'm sure I've seen them all over the years. The wonderful thing about George Carlin's humor is that it has lasting value. His observations are as true today as they were when he first uttered them. There's been much talk about his classic "Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV," which was history making. After all, it made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. But, for me, one of my favorites was his comparing the sport of baseball to football. He was so spot on, his words so true, that you couldn't help but laugh and nod your head at the same time.

More recently, George Carlin's humor had seemed to be more angry. To some, he was coming off as a grumpy old man. I think that says more about the ageism in the country, but George's humor was just as biting when he was a grumpy young man. I think if you watch the HBO marathon, you'll agree with me that whether you call his comedy grumpy or acerbic, it was also funny and blisteringly truthful.

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Of course George was angry and why not? There's much in this society to anger a thoughtful man. Lenny and Mort were angry too. Those who find George "a bitter old man" are perhaps burying their heads and playing it safe these days. George was still asking questions and throwing punches. He'll be missed.

June 29 2008 at 10:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If HBO really wanted to honor the memory of George Carlin, they'd go free for the weekend so everyone could see the old specials.

June 25 2008 at 8:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'll definitely be recording them all. I've seen most of them but forgot alot of it. I can't wait to see them again. It still hasn't sunk in for me that he's gone yet. Watching his specials again oughta help.

June 25 2008 at 2:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cool for some reason I now get HBO, and aren't paying for it, so if I'm awake I know what to watch.

June 24 2008 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Back when I had HBO, which was about a year ago, they had the channel HBO Comedy, and they aired a George Carlin special every night. Sometimes they went way back into the early 80's, sometimes they aired a more recent one like "Life is Worth Losing". It'd be nice if Comedy Central aired some of those specials uncut in thier "Secret Stash" nights as well.

June 24 2008 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I loved George Carlin, but to pigeon-hole criticism of his latter work as ageism is preposterous.

His early work wasn't angry, it was clever observational humor. Football v. baseball, a place for my stuff, the hippdy-dippy weatherman - those bits weren't angry, but they were damned funny.

Toward the end, he did degenerate into a bitter old man and it simply wasn't funny.

I'd like to see a George Carlin: The Tonight Show Performances DVD. He was brilliant back then. I'd buy that in a heartbeat.

June 24 2008 at 12:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tim's comment
Cincinnati Mike

I'll see you halfway, Hessian. That last HBO special this year...I won't know if it was angry, but it wasn't very funny either. And let me add the obligatory "I've loved GC since I first heard Occupation:Foole when I was 8 years old!"

June 24 2008 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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