George Carlin's American Dream (2022) s01e02 Episode Script

Part 2

1 In my personal little world, I can't worry about offending someone because that's flinching.
You can't flinch.
If you mean what you're saying.
A lot of these cultural crimes can be blamed on the baby boomers.
Whiny, narcissistic, self-indulgent people with a simple philosophy, "Give me that, it's mine!" "Give me that, it's mine!" The line exists.
These people were given everything.
There'll always be taboos.
Everything was handed to them.
Always be things that if you don't handle them a certain way, people will reject you.
And they took it all.
Sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
And they stayed loaded for 20 years and had a free ride.
But now, they're staring down the barrel of middle-age burnout and they don't like it, so they turn self-righteous.
And they want to make things hard on younger people.
As for the rock and roll, they sold that for television commercials a long time ago.
But I always mean what I'm saying, and I just go for it.
They're cold, bloodless people.
It's in their slogans, it's in their rhetoric, "No pain, no gain.
" "Just do it.
" "Life is short, play hard.
" "Shit happens.
Deal with it.
" "Get at a life.
" These people went from, "Do your own thing," to, "Just say no.
" They went from, "Love is all you need," to, "Whoever winds up with the most toys wins.
" And they went from cocaine to Rogaine.
They did.
Fuck these boomers.
Fuck these yuppies, and fuck everybody now that I think of it.
Here's George Carlin! I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear - How you doing, Doc? - I'm doing great there, Georgie.
that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.
We just got back from the, uh, inaugural festivities in Washington.
Thank God for a president who agrees in totality of what we morally stand for here.
We must have not only a government that defends freedom.
We must have a government that defends the right to life.
Fight back, fight AIDS! Falwell's July issue of Moral Majority Report charges the American family is now threatened by the AIDS epidemic.
Protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Well, it's a wait-and-see for some folks, you know, but he's the only one we got.
That's what I keep hearing people say, "Well, he's the only president we have.
" - So help you God.
- So help me God.
In the early '80s, he was still very disconnected as a human being.
He was fully aware that he was always compartmentalizing his head from his heart.
Like he'd say, "I live from here up," you know.
I think in some ways it's all he knew how to do was go on the road and get on a stage.
After Mom was sober, she said to my dad, "You cannot bring cocaine in the house ever again.
" And he absolutely abided by that rule.
But my dad wasn't quite ready to quit and didn't quit.
And he would have these binges.
He would disappear for two or three days.
Twice I remember that happening.
A terrifying two or three days, him gone, have no idea where he is.
He had to have a buzz going all the time.
But he always got through his shows.
He got through his shows.
Sometimes he would stop on stage and forget a line, but the people were always very forgiving with him and God, you'd look at the stage afterwards, there'd be 20 joints on the stage.
They'd just throw them up on stage.
He took them sometimes too.
He loved his work, and that's where he really lived, in the trees.
He lived in his own head.
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.
My name is George Carlin, and I am a professional comedian.
As opposed to the kind you run into at work all day long.
Even though the albums in that time period were subsiding, he used to do the Johnny Carson Show maybe six days a year, you know, as a fill-in.
What you do is you pump out 30 pounds of pressure.
And then you keep, you see And it keeps You see what it does.
- I love that.
- And it keeps the I want one of those.
And between that and what was left of the albums, we could do business.
But I thought there was a lot more there.
I always thought there was a lot more there.
Say, that doesn't feel bad, you know? Oh, yeah.
And what's really funny is, I think about George so many times telling me, "I'm really practical.
" And every time he'd say that, I almost laughed right in his face.
I think a lot of us who sat in the movie theaters of America as kids, when we decided we wanted to be in show business, - we thought of movies - Anyway, what had happened was this.
He had been trying to do a movie called The Illustrated George Carlin.
So now I'm finally taking that step for myself.
I, uh, I have a film idea, it's called The Illustrated George Carlin.
We're doing it outside of the studios.
We're not We haven't fooled with them.
We have money independently.
And I says, "Well, how much money have you raised so far?" And he says, "None.
" When are you going to have this together? Should take another eight months or so.
This was after three years of paying salaries and everything that goes with it.
And then he didn't pay his taxes properly for like three years.
Well, let me tell you something.
You figure it out with your accountant, and you start adding the penalties and interests and everything else.
Plus, the new money and the taxes on that.
Plus, he was supporting three families.
He was supporting his daughter's family, his brother's family, and, uh, his own family.
So it was a struggle.
I think Jerry didn't tell me the awful truth.
Boy, it really looks fucking bleak and it's getting worse.
And I have walked away from this Illustrated George Carlin thing.
That whole thing collapsed in flames, and I cried on the phone to Brenda.
"I said, " It's over, I can't do this.
It's not going to work.
" And I'm driving down to Dayton from Toronto, and I drank a lot of beer on the way.
And I finally crashed my car into a fucking pole, completely demolishing my nose.
I'm working on a new nose.
You might have heard that.
I redesigned a Volvo last month.
I never did quite get through that windshield like they said in the paper.
But, uh, they're working on the nose for me.
Next year, they're gonna shine it and buff it and do something to it.
It's my new nose and I promise this time not to blow it.
Okay? By now, the business was in the sewer.
So, shit, we were lucky to go out and pay for the flights and pay the opening act.
And I'd get on the phone to get an interview, and what do you think they wanted to talk about? Only one thing.
You made a reference earlier - to your drug history.
- Yeah.
Are you Is that all gone completely? Absolutely.
And, uh, well, it was only the one drug, you know.
The cocaine.
Uh, and occasionally, you'd take a little something else with it, but I was never, uh, a person who did anything but as much cocaine as there was in the immediate three-county area at that time.
But, you know, all you can do is talk about the truth because it happened to you.
As he sort of checked himself, David Huff at the defense.
I had tickets to see the Mets, who George loved, play the Dodgers, who he hated.
I need one.
Fernando! And Fernando Valenzuela was pitching.
"George told me, " Jerry, I got a little something in my chest.
I don't know what the hell it is.
"Maybe it was those hot dogs.
We better get out of here.
" Los Angeles fans are notorious for leaving early, but because they were winning, they stuck around.
And I'm glad they did.
'Cause we went downstairs, got in a limo, and by now, George is going like this.
He's stretching his chest.
He's opening his shirt.
And the driver, I says, "You better go like hell to the hospital in Santa Monica.
" We were doing 110 miles an hour.
And he got us there, thank goodness.
He was almost dead.
They were really not sure those first 48 hours what was going to go down, what was going to happen.
And my mom was told to go say goodbye to my dad.
I think that scared the shit out of him.
That heart attack really put the cocaine in its place.
Because he knew he had a ticking time bomb in his chest His father did drop dead.
It was pretty horrible because he was taking all these blood thinners.
He'd show up on a plane and, you know, his hands would be purple.
And he had a hammer hanging over his head.
Here's George Carlin.
This is one of the new artificial hearts, which I was given following my recent illness.
They just put them right in.
And for those of you at home who are do-it-yourselfers, these are available at RadioShack.
I just thought I'd bring you up to date on the comedian's health sweepstakes.
I am now ahead of Richard Pryor in heart attacks.
Two to one.
And Richard is ahead of me on burning yourself up.
Richard is leading on that.
See, the way it happened was, uh, first, Richard had a heart attack, uh, then I had a heart attack, and then Richard burned himself up.
And then I said, "I think I'll have another heart attack.
" Are you happy, George Carlin, at, what is it, 45? Well, I'm happier than I was, say, a year ago, or even six months ago.
Uh, since the heart attack, I've had to take a very close look at how I manage stress, how I handle it, and apparently, not very well in the past.
I'm one of those people who denies feelings.
"No, that's not happening.
Couldn't be.
No, never mind.
" "What, they did that to me? No sweat.
" "There's another day tomorrow.
" And I never expressed my anger or my sadness.
You really did feel it.
I mean, all of that stuff coming out was just so much of a guise? I got so good at it.
No, but you get so good at it that you don't know you're doing it.
Do you ever look back at the George Carlin that was eight years ago and wonder who he was? No? Well, he's great.
He was fine.
He was just a little crazier.
Just a little Didn't know what he was doing.
Didn't know what he needed, you know.
We had We had tough years to go through together.
I'm talking for my wife and me now, together.
And I was just responding to being a hit, an overnight.
You know, suddenly, here's all this stuff happening to me, and I had this money.
And that takes some adjustment, you know, so He was fine.
He was who he needed to be at that time.
You've got some dates coming up.
Yeah, well, I'm gonna do Carnegie Hall and we're taping it that night for my own production company.
And it's going to be our first cable release.
- Fantastic.
- So I'm in business for myself with my partner, Jerry Hamza.
For a change, I'm going to get to keep some of this stuff.
I just want to say I'm really happy to be here in Carnegie Hall.
Andrew Carnegie is dead, but I figure fuck him.
We've just found out that everyone is in the wrong seat.
Would you please change places with the person two seats over and four seats down? Now, there are also you people that are sitting in what is known as the boxes.
I don't want you to get horny on anything, 'cause Work out something about the word boxes.
You'll think of it, George, you're a clever guy.
Do a stand-up about Take the thing about a place for your stuff, your house, your home.
And take it from there and do a whole thing about what's in the house and what's in the home.
That's where keep your stuff, that's where you keep your stuff.
And you start in talking about what stuff is in what room and how you keep it.
Hi there.
How are you? How you doing? How are you doing? Good evening, everybody.
Hello there.
Thank you.
I remember when we finally got HBO in our neck of the woods, and they announced Carlin at Carnegie.
It was so early in the days of HBO and having cable that we didn't have the terminology for it.
My father one day came in to me and he goes, "George Carlin is going to be telling jokes on HBO for over an hour.
" I'd like to begin our show with a prayer.
A little prayer that I wrote myself.
Our Father who art in Heaven and to the republic for which it stands.
Please God, let me do a good show tonight.
Don't let me be an asshole.
Don't let anyone yell, "too late.
" Let the people really enjoy my jokes tonight.
Let me arrive safely back at my hotel.
Help me find some shoes I really like.
Help me also to find a nymphomaniac coke connection who owns a Ferrari dealership.
Nobody was allowed to curse in our house, but George Carlin was allowed.
And when he was laughing with George Carlin, Dad went away and there was Don Smith, some motherfucker I didn't know, but then my mother fucked.
You know? So in those moments, I really got to see who he was, and what he found funny.
I was, uh, gonna say to you, in fact, I'm going to say that I was awfully nervous and a little tight too.
I guess that's the same thing, you know.
I'm just glad to be home and I'm glad to be in New York and back in the borough and saying, "Hello! How are you?" This is my office.
That's what it is, my office.
Let's face it.
If this is my job, shit, this has gotta be my office.
Actually, this is just a place for my stuff.
It's all you need, really is a place for your stuff.
That's what life's all about, when you think about it, trying to find a place to keep your stuff.
Everybody's got to have a little place to keep their stuff.
That's why you have pockets.
That's why you have glove compartments.
That's why they have lockers at the bus station.
That's all your house is, really, when you think about it.
That's all your house is, it's a place for your stuff.
Hey, if you didn't have so much goddamn stuff, you wouldn't need a house.
Sometimes, you go to someone else's house, first thing you notice in someone else's house is you don't quite feel a 100 percent at home.
You know why? No room for your stuff.
Someone else's shit is on the table.
Have you noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff? "Get it off!" "Get that shit off of there and let me put my stuff down.
" A place for my stuff is highly intellectual if you look at the skill level, the brainpower it takes to break that down.
That is, you know, I don't know, maybe to some comedians, that's just a observational comedy bit.
To me, it's the elevation of the ordinary and the disassembling of the ordinary.
And that's There's no better example of that than that bit.
In essence, it seems like this light-hearted, superficial analysis of, like, the way people value their own belongings and how they display them and those types of things.
But, "My shit is stuff, and your stuff is shit" really is the through-line for the lack of empathy of people.
Like, even when you think about cancel culture, things like that, "My opinion is valid but your opinion is cancel culture and bullshit," like, "My thoughts are stuff and your thoughts are shit.
" And it's just this little bit that he did on shit you put on your dresser.
Thank you very much.
And I hope I see you another time.
Good night, all.
Have a good time, you.
Thank you.
- Thank you very much.
- After the show, George was in tears in the dressing room.
See you later.
Because he thought, "Oh, it could have been so much better if I could've had two shows.
" "There were so many little things that I could have changed.
" But the show came out and it exploded.
And that's what got it going again.
Hello, good morning.
How are you? What's going on? What's new? What's happening? Good evening.
How is it going? And what the fuck's new with you? But he still was the guy whose back is up against the wall with the government.
And I used to get a call every Tuesday from this guy at the IRS, "How did we do over the weekend?" I think a lot of you know that I've been through several changes in my career.
He couldn't catch up.
I'm just hoping you'll hang in there with me one more time.
A lot of comedians tell you what they did.
Well, you know, I went I was down HBO fed the box office all across the country.
You can tell by listening, this guy has never been near a psychiatrist.
So, I was able to keep touring, and earn money.
If I tell you something happened, it fucking happened, okay? And slowly, I was just learning how to produce more material, because I had a need, I had to stay out there.
Have you ever been talking to someone and a little bit of spit flies off your tongue and lands right on the man's nose? Do you ever pour glue on a bird? Of course not.
You don't have to.
You ever been sitting in the movies? But I wasn't really going anywhere in my thinking.
Here's something you don't know.
I never fucked a ten, but one night, I fucked five twos.
I had to find my voice.
Some guys will fuck anybody.
Not me.
Not anymore.
Not since herpes and AIDS are going around.
In fact, just to be on the safe side, I'm not even jerking off anymore.
Well, I don't know where I've been.
He was a road comic till the day he died.
It was his art form.
It's how he made his living.
And he had an enormous amount of financial pressure.
So he really had no choice.
Because the IRS threatened to take their house away all the time.
That was the leverage.
And that house was everything to my mother.
And then my mom was alone all the time.
She didn't have her life partner.
She didn't have her guy.
And she was like, "You need to figure this out differently because we need to have a life together.
" So they started going out on dates and having lunches together.
And then he actually began taking vacations.
I'm coming in on you now.
- Zeroing in.
- I am too.
Just perfect.
What? Looks great.
What a good shot.
When all of the noise of the drugs and alcohol left and all of the noise of the career stuff Hey, Brenda.
there was this really nice little honeymoon period for them, where they got to know each other again.
Okay, that's nice.
We had survived so much, and there was this incredible love and an incredible adventure we'd been through together.
And the three of us, were the only people on the planet who really fucking got it.
I am very disturbed that my actions in the 1970s concerning my money and other behaviors have put me in the position where I have to be away from Brenda.
That Brenda is left alone so much.
I tell her, I say, "I'm working on our retirement.
" I'm trying to set some things in place "that will put us ahead of this game.
" Comedy is about the present and the now.
And then life changes and you hopefully, as a comedian, change and evolve with it.
But if you solidify and calcify and go, "This is as far as I'm going to go and damn it I'm still going to say these words," then you're not engaging with the world anymore.
You're engaging with a certain moment in time that you have decided to live in forever.
And George ran that risk for a while in the '80s of becoming irrelevant.
Carlin saw some of the trends that were happening in stand-up.
Other comedians are coming along, they're starting to do laps around him.
Comedy clubs are opening up.
He paved the way, but they're not booking him.
He's getting older.
I'm like anybody else on the planet I'm very moved by world hunger Sam Kinison bursts onto the scene loud and angry.
Yeah, I watch these things on TV and I see those commercials and I look at it, I go, "God, how cruel," you know.
To see a little kid out there, and I go, "Fuck," I know the film crew could give this kid a sandwich.
So, part of Sam Kinison inspired George Carlin, but part of him scared him a little bit.
But, like any true artist, if something scares you, you have to run towards it.
There's a director five feet away going, "Don't feed him yet!" "Get that sandwich out of here! It doesn't work unless he looks hungry!" You want to send them something? You want to help? Send them U-Hauls.
Send them U-Hauls, some luggage.
Send them a guy out there that goes, "Hey!" "You know, we've been driving out here every day with your food for the last, I don't know, 34 years.
" "We've been driving out here every day across the desert and it occurred to us there wouldn't be world hunger if you people would live where the food is!" "Get out of the desert!" "You understand that you live in a fucking desert?" I remember consciously thinking, "This motherfucker is good, and he's got ideas.
" Without wanting to wipe him out, I want to raise my level to where I'm not lost in his dust.
I've always been very competitive about this.
And I know that it gave me the feeling of run a little faster, work a little harder.
You know, it's not accumulated credits here, George.
It's what did you do last week? Cherry, cherry pie ♪ The sanctity of life.
Abortion has always been wrong.
It will always be wrong.
And those Reagan years really represented the rise to supremacy of darkness in a way, the ascendancy of ignorance.
Rock lyrics have turned from, "I can't get no satisfaction" to, "I'm going to force you at gunpoint to eat me alive.
" So, my reaction to the climate was one of storing up ammunition.
And the notes began to almost be exclusively about issues.
The misuse of federal funds, the embezzlement of funds, and the stealing Shocked by the fact that a former Secretary of the Treasury of such high standing had failed to file his tax returns.
Like little Jack Horner ♪ Just sittin' in that corner ♪ Oh, he was eatin' his cherry ♪ Cherry, cherry, cherry pie ♪ Absolutely no recollection of destroying any document which A few months ago, I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages.
My heart, to my best intentions, still tell me that's true.
So now, I said, I'm beginning to find my own way to say these things and to let loose.
My mind wanted now to produce this other stuff.
My mind just called all the shots.
My mind and heart said, "This is what we're doing now.
" Hello, Union City, New Jersey! Without any further ado, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to introduce a gentleman who needs no introduction.
In 1988, one of the guys I worked with was into stand-up.
And we heard on the radio that they were advertising George Carlin.
So we ended up going to the show.
We got tickets because we were going to go there to actually, I can't believe this, to laugh at him.
That he was this older comic who is still doing all these old bits that we heard and I remember the whole week, he just kept going, "More stuff!" And I kinda bought into it.
Hey there, we doing all right? Thank you.
Thank you, everybody.
And George Carlin came out Hello.
Thank you.
with like a howitzer.
I really haven't seen this many people in one place since they took the group photographs of all the criminals and lawbreakers in the Ronald Reagan administration.
It was like Two-hundred and twenty-five of them so far.
" Who is this guy?" See, that's what you got to remember.
This is the Ronald Reagan administration we're talking about.
These are the law-and-order people.
These are the people who are against street crime.
They want to put street criminals in jail to make life safer for the business criminals.
They're against street crime.
Keep in mind, these Reagan people are the ones that were going to get government off our backs.
Remember that? That was the rhetoric of the 1980 campaign.
We'll get government off your backs and out of your lives.
Yeah, but they still want to tell you what magazines you can read.
And they still want to tell you what rock lyrics you can listen to.
And they still want to force your kids to pray in school.
And they still want to tell you what you can say on the radio.
So, these Reagan people, these right wingers, in general, they're against homosexuality.
They're against pornography.
They're against sex education.
They're against abortion.
Yeah, they're going to get government off your back, but they're going to tell you how to live your sex life.
And let me ask you this, how would they know anything about it? Have you ever taken a look at those people? No wonder they're afraid of their bodies.
Take a look at them.
Doesn't it strike you as mildly ironic that most of the people who are against abortion are people you wouldn't want to fuck in the first place? Does that strike you a little strange? Hey, I'm the first one to say it's a great country, but it's a strange culture.
This is a country where gun store owners are given a list of stolen credit cards, but not a list of criminals and maniacs.
And now they're thinking about banning toy guns and they're going to keep the fucking real ones! I would say it was like a Miles Davis thing.
George has like, one, two, three, four, five distinct periods of growth where he would leave a segment of his audience behind.
Like When he was, like, working clean from a team to then becoming the counterculture guy, to then being that guy in the '80s, then that dude in the '90s, and each time, it was like a boa constrictor.
It just got more pointed and more like, "Fuck, man.
This guy is scaring the shit out of me.
Where's this country going?" Um, the courage that that takes to do that, that is like, "Hey, man, I'm going in this direction.
" You either come along with me or you don't.
And I don't give a shit if there's 3,000 or three people listening to this.
This is what I believe.
"This is what I want to say and I'm saying it.
" He developed a style and he started talking about things that were more serious and more meaningful.
First, he would come out with a hard joke right in the beginning.
Don't you think it's just a little bit strange that Ronald Reagan had an operation on his asshole and George Bush had an operation on his middle finger, huh? He always had something where he used to call for the audience.
You know, "We're going to blow up America, but now, here are a few fart jokes.
" They were always in there.
Have you ever been in a serious social situation when you suddenly realize you have to pull the underwear out of the crack in your ass? "You take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife?" "Huh? Who? Her? Oh, hell yeah.
" When it got about 20 minutes out, he had a piece that was a hammer.
And it was what he was really doing the show for.
Sanctity of life.
You believe in it? Personally, I think it's a bunch of shit.
Well, I mean, life is sacred? Who said so? God? Hey, if you read history, you realize that God is one of the leading causes of death.
Has been for thousands of years.
Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians, all taking turns killing each other because God told them it was a good idea.
"The sword of God, the blood of the lamb, vengeance is mine.
" Millions of dead motherfuckers.
Millions of dead motherfuckers all because they gave the wrong answer to the God question.
"You believe in God?" "No.
" Dead.
"You believe in God?" "Yes.
" "You believe in my God?" "No.
" Dead.
"My God has a bigger dick than your God.
" We watched the arc of a creative person that just stayed with it until they broke through to that next evolution that he went through, because it felt like, "Yes, I'm a " "You know me as this goofy guy that is a wonderful wordsmith and I can always find ways to say things, and I'm now, I have been pushed to the point, by what I have seen in my years, where none of that is there anymore, "and I need to tell you exactly what is going on.
" We can't get rid of this war mentality from our public life.
We got a war on poverty, war on crime, war on cancer, war on litter, war on drugs.
Did you ever notice we don't have a war on homelessness? No war on homelessness.
You know why? You know why? I'll tell you why, because there's no money in it.
There's no money in that problem.
Nobody stands to get rich off of that problem.
You find a solution to homelessness where the businessmen and the politicians can steal a couple of million dollars each, you'll see the streets of America begin to clear up pretty fast.
It seemed he had another goal in mind, which was to push your thinking.
These people need physical, tangible structures, low-cost housing.
But where are you going to put it? I think that was the biggest thing that attracted me to him, especially young, because your critical thinking is starting to really, like, tick up a bunch.
And you're starting to really be like, "Why do I have to take off my hat in class? What's that have to do with me learning? It's not blocking my brain.
" We got a thing in this country called NIMBY.
N-I-M-B-Y, "Not In My Backyard.
" That's what they call it.
People don't want anything near them, especially if it might help somebody else.
To then be introduced to another, like, critical thinker who's like, "Hey, society, what's up with these rules?" "What's up with these standards? What's up with trying to inflict this stuff on everybody?" Once you hear another perspective, you can't unhear it, so you do have to then decide who you are after that.
It's just the facts.
Well, I got an idea where we can put some low-cost housing, golf courses.
This is just what we need.
Golf courses.
Plenty of good land.
Plenty of good land in nice neighborhoods, land that's devoted now to a meaningless, mindless activity engaged in primarily by White well-to-do male businessmen who use the game to make deals to get together to carve the country up a little finer among themselves.
Golf is an arrogant an arrogant, elitist game and it takes up entirely too much room in this country.
Entirely too much room.
Listen to me.
You know much room it takes up? Seventeen thousand golf courses, about 150 acres each.
That's three million acres.
That's 4,800 square miles.
Two Rhode Islands and a Delaware you could build for the homeless on the land that's currently devoted to this meaningless, mindless, arrogant, elitist, racist game.
Racist game, racist game.
The reason I believe in blunt, almost violent presentation of my ideas these days, is because what is happening to everyone it is not gentle, it is not subtle.
It is direct, hard, and violent what is being done to the lives of people.
The real violence goes on every day unheard, unreported, and it is not sufficient to have a clever riposte, a clever line, huh? "Fuck you, cocksuckers," is my approach.
The bloodiest, most brutal wars fought, all based on religious hatred, which is fine with me.
Any time a bunch of Holy people wanna kill each other One of the problems of Americans is they can't face reality.
And that's why when it comes crashing down, no one's going to be prepared to handle it, because they're not used to it anymore.
I mean, everything is glossed over.
"Oh, that's not happening.
" Feel-good presidents.
"That's not happening.
That's not happening.
Let's make believe this isn't happening.
" And suddenly, we're going to have to face it.
I remember one time Carlin said to me "I'm not in show business.
I'm a comedian.
" It's like, "Oh, this is gangster.
" I took it to mean that comedians, you know, we're thinkers, but when you think about, you know, the history of man, you know, man used to love philosophers.
We don't really have philosophers anymore, but we have comedians.
So, Carlin encompassed all those things.
That's what he meant.
Like, "This is what we do.
This is the life we've chosen.
" We're, you know, kind of a secret society, in a sense.
I think I was talking to Seinfeld last night and it's kind of like the same thing.
Okay, fine.
You want the comedian to be your lens on society? Go.
Enjoy it.
But for me I've never heard a comic bit that changed my opinion on anything.
Except a great bit changes my opinion of that comedian.
Hey, look out there.
It's these meaty guys.
Wayne! How ya doing, Wayne? People sometimes say to me, "Are you trying to make people think?" "I say, " No, no.
That would be the kiss of death.
What I want to do is to let them know I'm thinking.
" You have to be somewhat of an egotist to stand up all your life and say, "Listen to me.
Please pay attention.
" And that's fine.
I can live with that about myself.
But if I'm going to call attention to myself, I want to show them something a little different from time to time.
I want to find a voice that isn't like all the others.
So I like to find out where their line may be and deliberately cross it, and then make them glad they came.
Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Libya, you got some Brown people in your country.
Tell them to watch the fuck out or we'll goddamn bomb them.
That's If they're laughing or at some point when they extend the laugh, or they begin to applaud one of those lines, I'll be filling that time by going If you were a new comic today, if you came along right as you are right now, you had never made a record, no one had ever heard of you.
I'd kill.
I'd absolutely kill.
I'm doing my very best work right now.
It's been a little while.
It's been a little while since I've been here, and a couple of things have happened in that time.
I'd like to talk a little bit about the war in the Persian Gulf.
Big doings in the Persian Gulf.
You know my favorite part of that war? It's the first war we ever had that was on every channel plus cable.
And the war got good ratings too, didn't it? Got good ratings.
Well, we like war.
We like war.
We're a war-like people.
We like war because we're good at it, and it's a good thing we are.
We're not very good at anything else anymore.
Huh? Can't build a decent car.
Can't make a TV set or a VCR worth a fuck.
Got no steel industry left.
Can't educate our young people.
Can't get healthcare to our old people, but we can bomb the shit out of your country, all right.
We can bomb the shit out of your country, all right.
Especially, if your country is full of Brown people.
Oh, we like that, don't we? That's our hobby.
That's our new job in the world, bombing Brown people.
Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Libya, you got some Brown people in your country.
Tell them to watch the fuck out or we'll goddamn bomb them.
Well, when's the last White people you can remember that we bombed? Can you remember the last White Can you remember any White people we've ever bombed? The Germans, those are the only ones, and that's only because they were trying to cut in on our action.
They wanted to dominate the world.
Bullshit, that's our fucking job.
That's our fucking job! Well, you know, Jammin' In New York, he always When he talked about Jammin' In New York, he said the reason that it was so profound for him was that it was the first time that he felt like he was a real writer.
That show was a life changer for me in 1992.
It made me realize I was more of an artist than a performer.
You know, for another comedian to hear that, it's like, "Wow.
Okay, sure.
Whatever you say, you weren't a real writer until then.
" I'm a stand-up comic.
It's a vulgar art.
It's the people's art.
I'll always be that.
I'm nothing but a vulgar, stand-up comedian performer, show business guy, but I'm a writer, too.
There's an artist at work in here.
There's an artist at work alongside the performer, and that made me feel different.
Jammin' In New York was the first time that those values showed in the piece called, The Planet is Fine.
The People Are Fucked.
We're so self-important.
So self-important.
Everybody's gotta save something now.
Save the trees.
Save the bees.
Save the whales.
Save those snails.
And the greatest arrogance of all, save the planet.
What? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet? We don't even know how to take care of ourselves yet.
We haven't learned how to care for one another.
We're going to save the fucking planet? I'm getting tired of that shit.
Tired of that shit, tired.
I'm tired of fucking Earth Day.
I'm tired of these self-righteous environmentalists.
These White bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren't enough bicycle paths.
People trying to make the world safe for their Volvos.
Besides, environmentalists don't give a shit about the planet.
They don't care about the planet.
Not in the abstract, they don't.
Not in the abstract, they don't.
You know what they're interested in? A clean place to live.
Their own habitat.
They're worried that someday in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced.
Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn't impress me.
Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet.
Nothing wrong with the planet.
The planet is fine.
The people are fucked.
The planet is fine.
Compared to the people, the planet is doing great.
It's been here four and a half billion years.
Do you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years.
We've been here what, 100,000? Maybe 200,000, and we've only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over 200 years.
Two hundred years versus four and a half billion, and we have the conceit to think that somehow we're a threat.
That somehow we're going to put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that's just a-floating around the sun.
The planet has been through a lot worse than us.
Been through all kinds of things worse than us.
Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sunspots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles.
Hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages and we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet the planet the planet isn't going anywhere.
We are.
We're going away.
Pack your shit, folks.
We're going away and we won't leave much of a trace either.
Thank God for that.
Maybe a little Styrofoam, maybe.
A little Styrofoam.
Planet will be here.
We'll be long gone.
Just another failed mutation.
Just another closed-end biological mistake, an evolutionary cul-de-sac.
The planet will shake us off like a bad case of fleas.
A surface nuisance.
That haunting sound effect of the Earth just shaking us off, he goes And I remember I I like I felt like a jolt in my chest, you know, when you lean back on a chair or something, when he did that, of the way he so brutally and eloquently showed the insignificance of human beings and humanity.
To be fair, the planet probably sees us as a mild threat.
Something to be dealt with, and I'm sure the planet will defend itself A lot of the stuff that he was saying, it was hard for some people to listen to it, because it was so searingly and brutally honest.
What would you do if you were the planet trying to defend against this pesky, troublesome species? "Let's see.
What might Hmm, Viruses.
" Viruses might be good.
They seem vulnerable to viruses.
And viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains, "whenever a vaccine is developed.
" The thing that is so key with George is he's not afraid of silence.
And so I think when your comedian has a specific agenda, especially one that is so explicitly political, and so explicitly, like, "I'm going to confront the things that you think you don't want me to confront," you have to be able to keep your back stiff.
Because if the audience sees you back off, then they got you.
Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with a fetus from conception to nine months.
After that, they don't want to know about you.
They don't want to hear from you.
No nothing.
No neonatal care, no daycare, no Head Start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing.
If you're preborn, you're fine.
If you're preschool, you're fucked.
You're fucked.
Conservatives don't give a shit about you until you reach military age.
Then they think you are just fine.
Just what they've been looking for.
Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers.
Pro-life, they're not pro-life.
You know what they are? They're anti-woman.
Simple as it gets, anti-woman.
They don't like them.
Here's another question I have.
How come when it's us, it's an abortion, and when it's a chicken, it's an omelet? Are we so much better than chickens all of a sudden? Name six ways we're better than chickens.
See, nobody can do it.
You know why? Because chickens are decent people.
Is a fetus a human being? This seems to be the central question.
Well, if a fetus is a human being, how come the census doesn't count them? Just looking for a little consistency here in these anti-abortion arguments No one is ever more himself than at that moment when he laughs because it's very Zen-like, that moment.
You are completely yourself when the message hits that brain and you understand it and then the laugh begins.
If a new idea slips into that moment, it gets in and has a place to start to grow a little.
At the same time, you've had to surrender yourself to that moment, and it's a perfect union.
It's a genuine, momentary communion.
They wouldn't have experienced it without you, and you wouldn't have experienced it without them.
Maybe it's one of the things that you seek by following this path is to have some power like that.
To be able to say, "Stop in your tracks and consider me.
" I'm speaking to my friends, the Catholics, when John Cardinal O'Connor of New York and some of these other cardinals and bishops have experienced their first pregnancies and their first labor pains and they've raised a couple of children on minimum wage, then I'll be glad to hear what they have to say about abortion.
I'm sure it'll be interesting.
Enlightening, too.
But but in the meantime, what they ought to be doing is telling these priests who took a vow of chastity to keep their hands off the altar boys.
When Jesus said, "Suffer the little children, "come unto me," that's not what He was talking about.
This will be the best fair ever! - Mr.
Conductor? - Look what I won at the fair! Besides winning all these prizes, I had a whole baked bean.
Like most kids, my introduction to comedy was my freshman year of college.
I was one of those kids where I only knew Carlin as the dude from Shining Time Station.
Honestly, he was just the dude from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Greetings, my excellent friends.
The Rufus that you see is the Carlin that we knew off-camera.
Right, it was this gentle, paternal It wasn't like, "Hey, now I'm doing my thing.
" You know.
And I think everyone expected that.
Like, no one complained about this.
I'm not like going to create some mythology.
I'm only telling you what the set vibe was.
And that was what the set vibe was.
One of the things I respected about him so much, and I think one of the things that drew me to him when I was young, there was a kind of open-heartedness to him.
- Gentlemen - And front and center - were his values.
- we're history.
Whoa! Hi, Tom.
Hot baked goods.
I don't think he ever gave up on the Danny Kaye dream.
Well, hello, Susan.
You look fabulous this morning.
I'm so glad you both got laid.
He loved doing Shining Time Station.
He loved being Rufus.
Then he calls me up.
He said, "I got a TV show.
" I said, "Oh, how cool is that?" Hey, don't buy any book by a stand-up comedian who's got a sitcom.
They don't know what they're talking about.
He says, "Yeah, you're on the payroll.
" I said, "What's my job?" And he says, "To help maintain my New York attitude.
" With a broomstick! George Carlin stars in The George Carlin Show on Sunday nights.
He plays George O'Grady.
If I was willing to apologize, I could have stayed in the altar boys, the Boy Scouts, the choir, three Catholic schools, and the Air Force.
First of all, my acting bug has never been satisfied, and I had Sam Simon.
Sam's credentials include Taxi, Cheers, Tracy Ullman, and The Simpsons.
I thought at 56, maybe I owe Brenda, my wife, and me a shot at a real home run.
I've always been an outsider and a loner, in my life and in my career.
Onstage, out there alone, you've written everything yourself, you deliver it yourself, you're directing and producing.
It's a complete solo act.
And I just think there's a part of me that wants to belong, that wants to be a part of a group that wants to collaborate.
And that's what acting is, the ultimate collaborative art.
My dad did it because he wanted to stay at home and spend time with my mom and get off the fucking road.
He was tired.
He was sold the idea that you can stay home and have a life.
But Dad started working 14-hour days and realizing that he was not home with my mom.
And he was exhausted.
And irritated and at war with his other executive producer.
At the time, this is when Seinfeld was looking at 250 million dollars from his show.
And he said it, he felt he owed it to his family to hit a home run, but they wanted to change the tone of the network.
So, in spite of pretty good numbers, the show was canceled.
He's a guy that wrote all his own material and got on the stage by himself, and just the nature of what we were doing isn't that.
So it's just weird that he considers it this black mark and this failure 'cause you just go, "Well, that's TV.
" That's why most comedians fail.
We're not good collaborators, obviously.
Why the hell are you up there by yourself? Because that's how you feel comfortable.
I remember somebody asking me once, "Would you ever consider doing a Broadway play?" And I went, "You mean where I would have to wait" till someone else finishes talking before I talk? "Why would I do that?" That's when you have to melt yourself down and pour yourself into a different bottle, to collaborate.
Hey, the streets are safer with you behind bars.
When they called me Well, I won't be in here long! and told me it had been canceled They haven't made the jail that can hold George O'Grady.
I said, "Thank you.
" It was a detour that I had to make one final time.
And there'll be a trial of dead screws behind me.
Hi, George.
I'm a big fan of yours.
I loved your show.
It didn't make it.
Are we going to see you on TV again? No, I'm very happy that it didn't make it because I really didn't fit in that kind of commercial comedy setting.
Trouble is it was fun on the stage, it wasn't fun in the offices, and that's fine.
I'm happy to be doing what I love and that is my stand up.
This next piece of material is real simple.
It's called "Free-Floating Hostility.
" Cultural items I'm bored with, tired of, and pissed at.
People who make quote marks in the air with their fingers.
What about these people who tell you their needs aren't being met? What about these guys who tell you, "I heard that.
" Too many vehicles.
White guys who wear their baseball hats backwards? What is all this shit about angels? What the fuck do White people have to be blue about? Something else I don't understand, motivation tapes.
Banana Republic ran out of khakis? Now suddenly, everyone is walking around with their own personal bottle of water.
When did we get so thirsty in America? Three out of four people now believe in angels.
What, are you fucking stupid? Besides, if you're motivated enough to go to the store to buy a motivation book, aren't you motivated enough to do that? So you don't need the book.
Put it back, tell the court, "Fuck you.
I'm motivated.
I'm going home.
I'm going home.
" I'm getting a little tired of hearing that after six policemen get arrested for shoving a floor lamp up some Black guy's ass and ripping his intestines out, the Police Department announces they're going to have sensitivity training.
I say, "Hey, if you need special training to be told" not to jam a large cumbersome object up someone else's asshole, maybe you're too fucked up to be on the police force in the first place.
Maybe not.
Maybe not.
I don't know.
You know what they oughta do? They oughta have two new requirements for being on the police, intelligence and decency.
You never can tell.
It might just work.
It certainly hasn't been tried yet.
George Carlin, the hippy-dippie weatherman, turned 60 this month, 60, and this ninth-grade dropout Yeah, Cardinal Hayes I know.
I didn't believe it either, somewhere along the way fell in love with ideas and words and has just written his first book, Braindroppings, which questions some of the major issues of our time.
When it comes to bullshit, truly Major League bullshit, you have to stand back in awe, in awe of the all-time heavyweight champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion.
Organized religion, it's no contest.
Religion easily, easily, has the best bullshit story of all time.
Think about it.
Religion has convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do every minute of every day.
And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn't want you to do.
And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time.
But he loves you.
He loves you.
He loves you and he needs money.
He always needs money.
He's all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing, and all-wise.
Just can't handle money.
Do you feel your place in comedy now? Do you feel that place? Is that That is growing on me.
I think longevity is a wonderful thing.
Sometimes you get applause just for not being dead when you say It's true.
When you say, "I'm going to be 60," they applaud that.
Wonderful, he's not dead, 60.
Uh, so, but, but I'm getting a sense of it.
You know, when you're in planes three days a week.
I go out every Friday, I come home every Monday.
It's three different cities, three different nights, airports, hotel lobbies, and people are wonderful.
People I love individuals.
I hate groups of people.
I hate people who have a group of people with a common purpose, because pretty soon they have little hats you know, and armbands, and fight songs, and a list of people they're going to visit at 3:00 a.
So, I dislike and despise groups of people, but I love individuals.
And so, cumulatively, I have gotten the feeling that I'm in this big family.
A family life I never had, by the way, this so to say, extended family of people who feel like you're their cousin.
Just like, "Georgie, in 1961, I saw you.
Hey, remember that?" "Yes.
" "Oh, and you know what you said?" I said, "Did I?" "Oh, yes.
" It's just great.
And so, cumulatively, you say, "Well, I guess I'm in the family.
I guess it's okay.
" He's there, George! George.
I met my wife, Brenda, 35 years ago in a nightclub in Dayton, Ohio.
And she has taken every step of this trip with me.
In the beginning, she sat back of those bad nightclubs and had to watch my second show when the 12 people in the audience had already seen my first show and I was forced to do the B material.
She gave birth to our miraculous daughter, Kelly, who once slept on the stage right near me all through a show I did at a college in Georgia.
She was nine years old.
Kelly, not Brenda.
Then, in 1970, when I discovered I had to follow my heart and go from a suit and tie to a beard and jeans, and take a pay cut of about 80 percent, Brenda never blinked.
Never blinked.
Even though it meant walking away from the purchase of our very first home, which was in escrow at the time.
And you know what she said? When I told her what I wanted to do, she said, "I'm going to make up your new press kit.
" She's the best I could ever have wished for.
So, Brenda, thank you.
Thank you.
And Brenda, as they say on these occasions, half of this belongs to you.
I promise you, later on, when we sell this thing I'll split the money with you.
Thanks, everybody, very, very much.
Thank you.
Surprise! You've had a long, successful, - happy marriage.
- Yes, sir.
In a society where that's unusual, in a profession where it's very unusual.
Brenda and I were lucky to have found one another.
We had our problems as everyone has.
We had to get past some bad things, but we always had our senses of humor.
And we always had a kind of loyalty to each other.
"I think there's a little aspect of, "You know, we did this and here we are.
"It's us.
It's not you and me.
It's us.
" When my mom got sick from liver cancer, the oncologist said to us she has maybe three months to live.
And so he was in denial a bit about it.
I certainly was.
We have a family meeting, and we were going to have a big 60th birthday for my dad.
And my dad says, "We're not going to do this birthday party.
Let's do it when Mom stabilizes in a few months.
" And none of us are talking about what's actually going on, which is my mother's not going to be alive in six months.
Nobody's talking about it.
And then my dad says, "I have to go on the road.
" And it's like a ten-day trip he's got to go on the road.
And I'm like, "What?" I'm furious inside, and at the same time, stupefied by my own inability to say, "You have to stay home.
" You know, he had his first book coming out, Braindroppings.
And he had this press tour.
You know, we had started probably about a month or so just prior to that.
And he would go out, do a couple dates, race home, see Brenda.
And he was all set to do Letterman.
You know, he flew to New York "and he got the call, " Brenda's probably not going to make it through the weekend.
" I don't know if she was dead when he walked in the room or not, but I do remember that she had a teardrop.
And George took a Kleenex and wiped her eye and saved that Kleenex till the day he died.
She died on Mother's Day.
But to watch my dad take her, um face in his hands, and he was just like, "Oh, Brenny.
Oh, Brenny.
I'm so sorry.
" And it was just like you know, they loved each other so much, and, um it was such a fucked way for it to end.
I just pretty much after that dedicated myself, you know, "I'm not going to pretend anymore.
I'm not pretending with my dad anymore.
" My dad and I actually, after that, we were like, "All right, we need to learn how to talk to each other.
" Because we got how fucked up it all was.
Tragedy came into George Carlin's life recently after a long and very happy marriage, the death of his wife.
And this book wasn't - You didn't time it this way.
- No.
So you're committed to this tour.
I'm sure you wouldn't be out on it.
Brenda was ill at the time the book tour was being booked.
And I like to say, Brenda not only was the light of my life, she was the keeper of my dreams.
How do you deal with it, George? Well, you just have to get each day done a little bit at a time.
And you go from emotion to logic.
During the first few weeks, there's so many things to do and think about that you bounce back and forth between feeling and thinking.
And there are times when you hit a low.
And there are times when you're okay, sort of.
Do you live lots of memories - when you have that many years? - Oh, yes.
Every city that I've been in on my own, I've been in with Brenda.
Almost every one.
We drove every mile of this country together.
Early in the marriage, we lived out of our Dodge Dart.
It's not just sorrow and loss.
It's savoring what you had.
Excuse me.
Fill them pews, people.
That's the key.
Grab the little ones as well.
Hook them while they're young.
So, in 1998, we get ready to make this picture, Dogma.
When we were casting, they were like All right.
Mistakes were made.
"Who do you see as Cardinal Glick?" And I said, "George Carlin.
" Now, we all know how the majority and the media in this country view the Catholic Church.
One day he came up to me on set, "he goes, " As you know, my wife just passed away.
I'm not ready to take off my wedding band yet.
" So what I came up with is, if it's okay with you and if it's okay for the movie, if I put a Band-Aid, if Cardinal Glick has a Band-Aid on his finger the whole movie, it would allow me to keep my wedding band on "because it's just too soon.
" There's a period of healing you have to go through, and then you realize, you know, you're still here.
And they would want you to do what you do.
That's a gift you were given, and for you not to do it would be a sin.
So George did what he always did, went home and wrote.
Religion tries to tell us that there's meaning and that there's purpose and there's design, and there isn't.
It is all chaos and random and chance.
Religion takes a basic impulse we all have, which is a spiritual yearning.
To be reunited somehow with the universe.
And that's what religion exploits.
They call it God.
They say he has rules, and I think it's cruel.
I have pulled away and I now reside out where the Oort cloud is, where the comets gather.
I finally decided that I would dissociate myself, view all of this as an absurd, tragic comedy, and really have a point of view that allowed me to say anything that felt right, that expressed how I was reacting to all of this, and how it made me feel.
I sort of gave up on the human race and decided that I didn't care about the outcome.
"Not caring about the outcome.
" What do you mean by that? Right.
Not having an emotional stake in whether this experiment with human beings works.
I really don't care.
I love people as I meet them one by one.
People are just wonderful as individuals.
You see the whole universe in their eyes if you look carefully.
But as soon as they begin to group, as soon as they begin to clot, when there are five of them or ten, or even groups as small as two, they begin to change.
They sacrifice the beauty of the individual for the sake of the group.
I decided it was all under the control of groups now, whether it's business, religion, political people or what.
And I would distance myself from wishing for a good outcome.
Let it do what it's going to do and I'll enjoy it as an entertainment.
And not reflect on what it is on its own? And when you say to yourself, "I don't care what happens.
" It just gives you a broader perspective for the art, for the words to emerge.
The only other person that I had a similar feeling about was Kurt Vonnegut, who struck me as incredibly humanistic.
Someone with great care for the individual, of great empathy, but of a real mistrust of institutions.
When you'd talk to him, everything was so rational.
If that was his spirituality, I think, it was in the rational mind.
But I think he also felt outside of life.
He would never talk like, "Oh, I'm going to die," but I think he felt that way, that his days were numbered.
There are so many dates that I had to cancel because George had to go to the hospital.
So I know he was afraid of it.
And what George needed, you know, he couldn't be alone.
He didn't It was a funny combination, he didn't really want to interact with people, but he wanted somebody around.
You know, if he was going to get on the phone after a show and call and talk about his show, he wanted somebody to pick up the phone.
And, you know, he could throw the I love you's around, but what I think he really wanted was to say, "Hey, I tried that joke.
" And then he met Sally.
One day, I went to the bookstore with my dog, Spot.
And the only two people in there were George and myself.
I told myself, if he bent down to pet Spot, that I would say hello to him.
And he bent down and pet Spot right away.
Our conversation at the time was, he was trying to transform from being from doing into being and he was tired of always doing and he wanted to just be who he was.
He walked me out to my car and said that he'd call me in eight months.
He wanted to wait.
He wanted to honor the marriage that he'd lost.
And it would take eight months for it to be a year.
I figured I'd never see him again.
And eight months later, he called and asked me if I wanted to go get a bagel.
My instincts told me that he was a really nice guy.
And my instincts were wrong.
He was much nicer than that.
He was sweeter than that.
I mean, he was the sweetest person I think I've ever met.
Thursday, 3:46 a.
Hi, baby.
How are you doing? Well, it's over.
It went very well.
A lot of laughs.
They were a good audience.
Saturday, 6:51 p.
We're on the air today from Connecticut.
How do you like that? A special broadcast to one person.
A fine, fine girl.
Her name is Sally Wade.
Wow-ee, I say, "Wow, look at that Sal', she is some dish.
" We just started writing notes to each other.
And those evolved into us being from a different planet, and that we were just a couple of five-year-olds writing as very astute kids from Jupiter.
The Jupiterian king is out there goofing.
I'm out there goofing.
We were weird.
And our weirdness connected.
So we married ourselves.
We didn't have the proper paperwork, but we didn't think we needed that.
Saturday, 5:18 a.
As the sun comes up in Baltimore ♪ And the ships sail out to sea ♪ I get out of bed and stretch my balls ♪ And I take a fucking pee ♪ There's a lovely tune for you.
I love you.
Goodbye, baby.
So, we were sitting around, doing rehearsal.
It was me, him, and Ben.
And he started talking about Sally and he talked about, he's like, "I love it.
It makes me feel young.
" We play this game where we're not really a part of this fucking world anymore, where we enter the kingdom of the fairies "and she's the fairy queen and I'm the fairy king.
" And he went on this, like, very eloquent, very uncharacteristic of George Carlin, you know, almost fucking Ren Fest-y explanation.
I wanted to wave him off and be like, "Not in front of Affleck.
" Um, because as soon as we left, Ben just immediately cornered me and was just like, "Did you hear the part where he's the fairy king?" He seemed like a little boy.
I mean, I don't know George from before, so I don't know what he was like as a man earlier in his life, but I felt like both of them were like children.
I'm so in love You could just see the way that George looked at her.
He was madly in love with her.
Best baby doll in the whole wide world, and I love you so I never saw him angry.
I only saw him happy.
George Carlin promo.
- B-roll, b-roll.
- That's me.
There you go.
What's your name? - I'm Findlay.
- No, you're not.
- Yes, I am.
- Findlay? - Yes, that's me.
- Findlay, Ohio.
Artists are on a journey.
They don't know where it is going.
They just know there's something else.
There's something more.
There's more in me.
There's more to talk about.
Yeah, that's good.
Yeah, that's good.
It does look real.
Pablo Casals, the great cellist.
He was in his nineties, and someone said to him, "Master Casals, why, at your age, do you bother practicing three hours a day?" Hello.
"And he said, " Well, I'm beginning to notice some improvement.
" It's interesting and it's true.
And that's the thing that's in me.
I notice myself getting better at this.
Statistics show that every year, a million people commit suicide.
That's 2,800 a day.
One every 30 seconds.
You know? It's up to you sort of It's the viewer's interpretation of that.
Like, "Is that an invitation to them?" - Yeah.
- Marking.
The only thing I didn't know in all of this, until he ended up in the hospital, was that he did have heart problems.
I didn't know that in the beginning.
There were a few times when he needed stents in his heart and a few times when I had to drive through every red light there was to get to the hospital in time.
And we were just able to manage that somehow.
The closer you get to death, the more you think there's something there.
He didn't believe in a sky God, but he was spiritual in a way that meant magic and positive things happening.
Like, he always had a stage crystal with him.
And I think most people would agree So, when he was performing, he had that kind of magic in his pocket.
And he could draw from that.
I'll bet you can have an all-suicide channel in this country.
I bet you.
Well, shit, they got all-golf.
What the fuck? Goddamn.
George was having health problems, checking himself into hospitals with heart conditions.
And I remember seeing George at the Comedy & Magic Club.
He pulled into the parking lot at 7:00.
I pulled in like at 7:01.
So our cars were there at the same time.
I go, "George, how you doing?" He goes, "Oh, I just came back from the doctor.
" And he lifted up his shirt and it looked like a science project.
It looked like something out of Alien.
It was black and blue with scars, and this is a man who had his chest open a number of times.
Oh, what he went through.
We're gonna start at the bottom with the homeless people because nobody gives a fuck about them.
Ain't nobody got no money for them.
They have no plans.
They got no ideas.
They got nobody.
Five hundred thousand of them are veterans, and they still don't give a fuck about these people I hadn't seen him for about three months.
And by the way, there's another bunch of homeless coming soon when the housing bubble bursts and the dollar gets devalued and you get a lot of middle-class homeless assholes, and they'll be in there too.
And he is going to do this big HBO special.
And he never let me see his HBO stuff before the actual taping.
And I walk into his dressing room and his back is to me and I see this person standing in front of me and I think, "Who's that elderly man?" First thought in my head was, "Who's that Who's this this old guy in my dad's dressing room?" And he turns around and he is noticeably shorter, and he is puffy, and he's having difficulty breathing.
I thought to myself, "There's no way he's about to go on stage and do an HBO special.
"There's no way he's going to make it through it.
" Assassination.
You know what's interesting about assassination? Well, not only does it change those popularity polls in a big fucking hurry, but it's also interesting to notice who it is we assassinate.
Do you ever notice who it is? Stop to think who it is we kill? It's always people who've told us to live together in harmony and try to love one another.
Jesus, Gandhi, Lincoln, John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, John Lennon.
They all said, "Try to live together peacefully.
" Bam! Right in the fucking head.
It did go really dark.
He didn't think it went really dark.
He went really dark.
And he lost me a bit at the end.
It was too dark for me.
I like things that are excessive.
I like excessive behavior, excessive language, excessive violence.
It's fun.
It's interesting.
It's exciting.
I like it when nature is excessive.
That's why I like natural disasters.
All these natural disasters that have been going on, I fucking love them.
I can't get enough of them.
If it's a bit, then God bless him.
For Or whatever.
Nothing bless him, as he might prefer, but to pursue that level of darkness in the hope that actually it would point toward something hopeful is expecting a lot from your audience.
Because all you're stating is the dark part.
For centuries now, man has done everything he can to destroy, defile, and interfere with nature, so when nature strikes back and smacks man in the head and kicks him in the nuts, I enjoy that.
I have absolutely no sympathy for human beings whatsoever.
You know what makes me happy? Watching my species destroy itself.
I really, I take it as a sport, as a kind of a hobby and I root for the complete destruction of this culture that we live in.
I root for underdogs, I root for nature.
Because on this planet, at this time, nature is the underdog.
You know the best thing I can hear on television? "We interrupt this program.
" You know the worst thing I can hear? "No one was hurt.
" George's next special, November 17th on HBO Live.
What are you calling it? I Kinda Like It When a Lot of People Die.
No, he did not like it when a lot of people died.
He did like it when a lot of people died.
I kinda like it when a lot of people die.
Some people like needlepoint, some people like miniature golf, doing the mambo, shit like that.
Me, I like a nice train wreck.
I always hope things are going to get worse.
Don't you? Don't you secretly hope that everything gets worse? When you see a big fire on TV, don't you hope it spreads? Are you on the verge of losing your temper or are you - You're shaking your head.
- No, it's not that.
It's It's a contempt.
I really think this species is a foolish, failed species that has organized itself poorly.
And I think this culture in particular leads the way.
I think we have put property ahead of people, we have put competition ahead of cooperation, and I don't think the balance can ever be brought back into line.
You know, philosophers say, "Why are we here? What is this all about?" I'm here for the entertainment.
Fuck these humans.
Let them do their thing.
I'll watch.
It's fun.
I'm out here.
I have no stake in the outcome anymore.
I don't care what happens to you.
I don't care what happens to your country.
I don't care what happens to your species.
You can go get fucked.
Because it's fun to watch you destroy each other.
It's entertaining.
Look at You got any dates you want to push? Yeah, right.
I'm not interested in the budget.
I don't care about tax negotiations.
I don't want to know what country the fucking pope is in, but you show me a hospital that's on fire, and people on crutches are jumping off the roof, and I'm a happy guy! I'm a happy guy! One of the things I'm still trying to figure out is, was Carlin ultimately a nihilist or was he an actual optimist who was using comedy to display a nihilist worldview? Sirens, flames, smoke, bodies, graves being filled, parents weeping, exciting shit, my kind of TV - Is he the Joker? - I just want some entertainment, It's just the kind of guy I am! - It's the kind of guy I am! - Is he happy? Like, shit is unraveling in front of our eyes.
Most people won't admit to those feelings.
Most people see something like that on television, they'll say, "Oh, isn't that awful? Isn't that too bad?" Lying asshole.
Lying assholes.
This is what I root for.
This is my joy.
Wait till I do my next show, you got to see the next one.
Two years from now, tune in.
It's called Fuck Hope.
That was fun.
Try to use a lot of that.
You know, it's just, it's how I am.
It's how I feel.
It's so real.
You could tell.
It was really evident from the first time I met him that he was fully committed to, like, whatever that fuse was that he lit.
Probably back in high school, if not before, that he never ever stomped out.
And then over the years, I just watched that, sort of, get overtaken by a ferocity.
You know, it wasn't really just a bitterness.
It was just a ferocity.
It was just like, "This world is fucked up and no one's doing anything about it," and like, "I've tried to explore" the human condition, and I've come up fucking empty.
" Gertie, Gertie.
Good girl.
The movie star Gertie.
Oh, you is a good girl.
I know you want to say, "Is he goofy?" People have different aspects of themselves.
And they have different identities.
Gertrude says, "I got to go now.
I got business downtown.
" He would express all this anger on stage, and then walk off.
That's it.
That's my anger.
Here's a big pile of it.
You guys deal with it.
I'll be your guide to this tape.
One of the patients here has been wanting me to make a tape for a long time.
A lot of people like to say he got bitter when he was old and all that shit.
He got tired of the fucking people, the fucking stupidity, and the just hopelessness of expecting anything from them.
He gave up.
He gave up.
I'm not a shrink.
I'm not a fucking shrink, but I sensed the disappointment in the human race.
And it hurt him, I'm sure.
It was rare moments in our life when he would be settled, fully present, but we had these breakfasts we would have, and he would put the world aside.
I'd been wrestling a lot with his darker take on humanity.
And, I finally just said to him, I said, "Dad, if you've really given up, then why the fuck do you get on stage? Why do you bother? Like, really? Like, is this just an ego thing? Like, is this just about you "satisfying yourself? Clearly not.
" And I felt like he had to fess up to me.
He was like, "You know, you've got me there.
" I really believe that he was always trying to be in service of some way to this species, and it is hard.
It is really hard keeping your heart open for that.
When I listen to your comedy, I don't get the feeling that, you know, that you have that no hope thing.
- I get just the opposite.
- Really? I think you've got a big defense thing going because you really are the hopeful guy.
I think you really are the guy who really believes - all the good of humanity.
- I do that.
I do that.
- I know.
It's all the opposite of what you think.
- I believe as an individual.
You're coming in a mirror way.
I know you're coming in the back door.
All comics do it, but I think you are a very high spiritual person.
Well, they say if you scratch a cynic, you'll find a disappointed idealist.
- Right.
- And I do cop to that.
I am that.
And you're right.
That's a very intelligent analysis.
And I've gone through that without using the words you used.
I've gone through that myself.
Thought about myself in those terms, but it's more fun this way.
He's on the Mount Rushmore of creative artists in this country.
Any kind of art.
And he was always nice.
He was always very supportive.
You felt like he was your buddy.
And you were a comedian, he's a comedian.
You're two guys doing this thing.
You were in the same boat with him.
You were with him.
He would even mail me a joke.
He'd write it down and mail it to me, but he's like a you know, like a great painter.
Like a Rembrandt of comedy.
You know, there's Rembrandt and then this guy's doing a postcard of a sailboat.
This is workshop night for me.
Roll with it.
Just listen to the words.
That's what I want you doing.
I'm reading and I'm kind of fucked up on where I'm going, just listen to the words, because this shit, I love it, but I don't know it all yet, okay? If you follow your heart, if you do the right thing, if you do what's on your mind, and in your heart, and in your brain, or whatever you want to say about it, good things will happen from it.
Good things will come.
By the way, I'm not trying this stuff out on you.
I'm not trying it.
I don't do that.
The audience doesn't really figure into my plans.
Here's the way I look at it, I'm here for me, you're here for me and no one's here for you.
Okay? By just doing what pleased me in these shows, I had an effect.
The kind of effect that I can't have on people in Darfur.
Even if I give money, if I send all my old sweaters to Darfur, it will not have the effect on them that one person sitting and listening when he's 12 years old, and I've heard them from people of all ages, and I've heard them from parents.
I've heard parents say, "My kid saw that show.
This and that.
His marks got better.
" I swear to God.
I hear this kind of shit.
And that gave me such power.
I don't mean power to use, power to have.
Gave me such a feeling of, "Yeah, man.
I'm okay.
I'm fucking okay.
" Okay.
We're still rolling, guys.
And we're in the shot.
And, George.
Now, the last time I rolled through these parts, and I do roll through with some frequency, I'm a little bit like herpes, I keep coming back, but since the last time I might have seen some of you folks, I've had my 70th birthday.
So I'm now 70 years old, and I like 70.
Not as much as I like 69.
Well, 69 was always my favorite number, but now I figure I'm 69 with one finger up my ass.
What I am is an old fuck.
It's like a fat fuck.
Fat fuck, tall fuck, skinny fuck, short fuck, but now that I'm an old fuck, I'm beginning to notice there are some advantages to putting on a few extra years.
The first one is, you never have to carry anything heavy ever again.
Everybody wants to help an old fuck.
If you got a big suitcase or something like that, you just kinda go like this a little bit.
You say, "Yeah, could you help me with this?" They say, "Yeah.
Hey, how far are you going?" "Indianapolis.
" I still refer to him all the time, which for a comic, I mean, you know Comedy is so ephemeral in so many ways.
It takes him out of the class of pop star and puts him in the class of, like, Bach and Beethoven, and classicists.
People that created something that was timeless, because it wasn't based on the moment, it was based on a deeper truth.
But the best thing about getting old is, you're not responsible for remembering things anymore.
Even important things.
"But it was your daughter's funeral.
" I forgot.
Oh, every time there's some weird psychopathic news story that happens, people are like, "Oh, I wish George Carlin were here to talk about that.
" It almost seems like the weirder things get in life, the more you want to hear the voice of George Carlin talking about it.
Even God can go on sensory overload.
That's why he wanted one day off a week.
Christians gave him Sunday, Jews gave him Saturday, Muslims gave him Friday.
God has a three-day weekend.
I mean, we all love Lenny Bruce, but nobody's sharing a Lenny Bruce bit to explain anything that's happening in the culture right now.
You know, there's lots of comedians from even ten, 15 years ago where we're sort of done with their things as being relevant to now.
There's enough bullshit as it is He was still a comedian that the culture as a whole cared about up until his last special.
there's just enough bullshit to hold things together in this country.
Bullshit is the glue that binds us as a nation.
Where would we be without our safe, familiar, American bullshit? America's leading industry is still the manufacture, distribution, packaging and marketing of bullshit.
This country was founded by a group of slave owners who told us that all men are created equal.
That is what's known as being stunningly full of shit.
There's a reason education sucks, and it's the same reason that it will never, ever be fixed.
Because the owners of this country don't want that.
This country is owned by eight or nine hundred people who run everything, do everything, control everything.
It's all one big ownership class in this country.
We're led to feel free by the exercise of meaningless choices.
Ice cream flavors, what do you want? We got 31.
Got the flavor of the week, got the flavor of the month.
But political parties, we're down to two.
Politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice.
You don't.
You have owners.
They own you.
They own and control the corporations.
They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls.
They got the judges in their back pockets, and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear.
They got you by the balls.
It's a big club and you ain't in it.
Nobody questions things in this country anymore.
Americans have been bought off and silenced by toys and gizmos with our microwave hot dogs and plastic vomit, fake dog shit, and cinnamon dental floss, and lemon-scented toilet paper, and sneakers with lights in the heels.
Millions of semi-conscious Americans day after day, shopping and eating.
It is the new national pastime.
Fuck baseball.
It's consumption.
So, where do people think these politicians come from? They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses, and American universities, and they're elected by American citizens.
This is the best we can do, folks.
This is what we have to offer.
It's what our system produces.
Garbage in, garbage out.
If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders.
Machine gun bacon.
That's what the owners count on.
They want obedient workers.
People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and now, they want your fucking retirement money.
They want it back.
So they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street.
Of course, there's a reason why we're all drugged.
The drug companies want it that way.
The drug industry has us taking things to get awake, things to go to sleep, things to pep up, things to forget about the grief you had from something.
"There's a drug problem in this country.
" Where do you hear that? At the drugstore.
You don't have to be a political scientist to see the bigger dick foreign policy theory at work.
It goes something like this, "What? They have bigger dicks? Bomb them.
" That's our new job in the world, bombing Brown people.
Isn't that roughly our job everywhere? We kind of free people and whip industry on them so that they can have all the benefits of industry that we have come to love.
Wasn't there something noble they could do to be helping this planet heal? Mother Earth raped again.
Guess who.
Hey, she was asking for it.
You know there's another bunch of homeless coming soon when the housing bubble bursts and the dollar gets devalued, and you get a lot of middle class homeless I said a long time ago, when fascism comes to America, it won't wear jackboots and brown shirts.
It'll have on a smiley face and a T-shirt and designer jeans and Nikes.
Black lives matter! You know what they ought to do? They ought to have two new requirements for being on the police.
Intelligence and decency.
You never can tell.
It might just work.
It certainly hasn't been tried yet.
Come on! You're full of shit! Black lives matter! Black lives matter! That's all you ever hear about in this country, is our differences.
Race, religion, sexuality.
That's the way the ruling class operates in any society.
They try to divide the rest of the people.
Anything they can do to keep us fighting with each other so that they can keep going to the bank.
But I'll tell you what they don't want.
They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking.
They're not interested in that.
That doesn't help them.
That's against their interests.
They don't give a fuck about you.
They don't give a fuck about you.
They don't care about you at all.
At all.
The table is tilted, folks.
The game is rigged.
Land of the free.
Home of the brave.
All men are equal.
- Help! - Justice is blind.
- The good guys win.
- USA! USA! And everything is going to be just fine.
USA! USA! USA! It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.
My last memory of my dad is, I went to Hawaii and I drive up to the Napili Kai, which is where I had my parents sign the UN peace treaty.
And there's no angst there, there's no chaos, there's no bad memories.
It's just pure, pure love.
So I call my dad, and my dad never picks up his phone, and he picks up the phone, and he says, "Hey, kiddo.
" I'm like, "Hey, Dad, I was just at the Napili Kai, and I want to tell you that everything that happened to us 40 years ago, all the pieces of ourselves that we left there, I've brought them home, and it's done, and it's really, really over, Dad.
It's done.
There's no more.
There's no more pain inside of me about this "or suffering or any of that.
" I can tell my dad's very choked up on the other end of the phone.
He can barely speak.
And, um, and he's like, "That's that's great.
" You know.
And it was one of these moments, it was just incredible.
I'd felt like on the phone with my dad like we had met each other in this place that we had never met each other before.
And I knew this was so important to him because I knew the biggest regret he had of his entire life about everything was what those years did to me.
And, we had this beautiful conversation.
He was going into the hospital early on a Sunday.
He wasn't feeling bad.
He was just going in to get an adjustment for his heart.
And then the hospital called me and said "Come in as soon as you can.
" And, uh he kept telling me he was sorry.
Which he didn't have to do.
He didn't have to apologize.
And, then he stopped breathing.
Uh, y'all people, this is the afterlife sergeant.
A couple of notes for you.
Just things where people are curious about.
Hitler is in heaven.
Listen, don't blame me.
I don't make the rules.
Technically, he was a Catholic.
He got absolution before he died.
Yes, you're all you're all going to die.
Didn't mean to remind you of it, but it is on your schedule.
Comedians don't want to die.
It's only a metaphor, but it's so true of all of us.
We don't want to die out there.
The comics wanna die.
I don't want to die.
Geez, I was dying out there.
Of course, if the comedian doesn't die, you know, if he succeeds, if he makes you laugh, then he can say, "I killed them.
" "I killed them.
" So it's either me or you, you know? See, I don't worry about the little things.
I think we're part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand.
A higher order.
Call it what you want.
You know what I call it? The big electron.
The big electron.
It doesn't punish.
It doesn't reward.
It doesn't judge at all.
It just is, and so are we, for a little while.
Thanks for being here with me for a little while tonight.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Thank you.
Take care of yourself.
Take care of yourself, and take care of somebody else.
Thank you.

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