11th Annual the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor: George Carlin (2008)

TV Special



8.1/10
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7 September 2010 | lor_
Great clips of the great Carlin
I really enjoyed the vintage clips of George Carlin in this posthumous tribute to the comic genius. It's well-directed from the live event by Linda Mendoza.

Despite the Kennedy Center setting, evening remains suitably irreverent, with the invited speakers peppering their remarks with some off-color material. Most of them are not worthy of the assignment, but at least they pay obeisance to a ground-breaking master of the comic art.

My favorite moment was when Margaret Cho, whose own career famously carries on the "blue" tradition that Lenny Bruce, Redd Foxx and Carlin helped develop, shows a treasure trove of memorabilia that Carlin kept, including a fish paperweight inscribed "Gone Fishing". She says: "I thought it read "Gone Fisting", and the censors (who dutifully bleeped from this show all those dirty words that Carlin identified and used as material), left this dirty reference in -it went way over their heads.

Fitting conclusion has Ben E. King singing "Stand By Me", ending an evening that preserves several classic Carlin routines of old (Al Sleet, the hippy-dippy weatherman breaking up Johnny Carson on GC's first visit to "The Tonight Show") and new (a brilliant demonstration of tongue-twisting wordplay by Carlin reciting all the current jargon and clichés in one of his cable TV specials) without too much sentimentality.

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