george carlin

REVIEW: George Carlin – What Am I Doing in New Jersey? (1988)

GEORGE CARLIN – What Am I Doing in New Jersey? (1988 Atlantic)

Why do we still look to the wisdom of George Carlin today in memes and videos?  Because his comedy was timeless.  What worked in 1988 is still topical in 2017.  On the government, Carlin blasts: “They’re against street crime, unless the street is Wall Street!”  Still true, just change the names.  Listen and you might even learn something, but you’ll be too busy laughing to realise it.

It’s actually incredible how applicable this 30 year old comedy show is.  Freedom of choice, freedom of speech, government telling you what you can and can’t hear.  I don’t think George Carlin would think much of the year 2017.  What is most appealing about George Carlin’s comedy is simply how he observes the absurdities of life.  If he makes you uncomfortable, that’s too bad, because the rest of us are laughing.

It’s not all topical observations.  Sometimes it’s helpful advice.  “Here’s one to try.  Go in to a gift shop, and ask for your gift.”  You’ll also enjoy his list of people he could do without.  “A proctologist with poor depth perception.”   True, true.  “Anyone who mentions Jesus more than 300 times in a two minute conversation.”  Yes, yes.  “A brain surgeon with ‘born to lose’ tattooed on his hands.”  Dear God yes.  And…”couples whose children’s names all start with the same initial.”  Say no more, my sides hurt!

The last 20 minutes of the album is dedicated to “More Stuff About Cars and Driving”.  From this, I gather there are many toll roads in the state of New Jersey.  Carlin goes after bumper stickers too.  Imagine what he’d think of today’s window sticker families!

Not for everybody, but possibly just what you need.

3.5/5 stars

VIDEO: Mike and Aaron Return to Toronto

Making these videos is a lot of work (a lot more than it looks like, thank you Winblows*) but it’s a labor of love.

Aaron and I did very well on Toronto Record Store Excursion 2013.  We used modern technology, such as smartphones and GPS, to maximize our time.  The weather was gorgeous (absolutely perfect) the whole day, and boy, did we buy a lot of music.

If you wanna check out the 2012 Record Store Excursion vid, click here.  If not, enjoy this year’s videos embedded below (two parts)!



* Need to move on from Windows Movie Maker.  Its glitchiness made this way too hard.


REVIEW: George Carlin – Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics (1990)


GEORGE CARLIN – Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics (1990)

This isn’t a music review, but who is more rock n’ roll than George Carlin?  This is one of my favourite albums of all time.

George Carlin’s acerbic humour has been classic, relevant and awesome since the 1960’s.  I think he got better with age, and regardless of the fact that it’s 22 years old, Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics is just as relevant today as it was in 1990.

Politically correct, this isn’t.  In fact the big thing Carlin rants against on this disc is political correctness!

I think spokesman ought to be spokesperson. I think chairman ought to be chairperson. I think mankind ought to be human kind, but they take it too far, they take themselves too seriously, they exaggerate! They want me to call that thing in the street a personholecover. I think that’s taking it a little bit too far. What would you call a lady’s man, a person’s person? That would make a He-man an It-person. Little kids would be afraid of the boogieperson! They’d look up in the sky and see the person in the moon! Guys would say come back here and fight like a person! And we’d all sing “for it’s a jolly good person!” That’s the kind of thing you would hear on Late Night With David Letterperson!

Carlin remains funny, even while being preachy.  For example, “Life’s Little Moments”:

You and your fiancé have been invited to your mom and dad’s house for dinner for the first time. Half way through dinner, your fiancé stands up and says, “I’ll be right back, I gotta take a dump.” There seems to be no really genteel way of announcing publicly a dump. And frankly, I’m not impressed with people who tell me what they’re going to do when they go to the bathroom in the first place. Doesn’t that bother you? People who announce it. “I’ll be right back, I’m going to take a shit!” “Nevermind! Do what you have to do and leave me out of it. And don’t describe it when you come back.” “Boy, you should have seen…” “Nevermind!” “It set off the smoke alarm!” “Nevermind!”

This CD is taken from an old HBO special.  Personally, I’ve always kind of preferred an audio version of a comedy show.  Sometimes you miss the visuals, but this is how I grew up experiencing comedy. My buddy Peter and I would drive to the cottage with two hours of comedy tapes in the deck.  It’s a great way to experience stand up comedy.  George Carlin’s well-written and composed comedy is 99% verbal, so it really works perfectly on CD.

And that’s the best way I can describe this disc:  Well-written and composed.  While it still sounds live and spontaneous as stand up comedy should, it’s obvious that George laboured over his words, language and his messages.  Language is a big part of this show.  Carlin laments the watering down of modern language.  When you water down the words we use, you water down the thinking as well.  For example, “shell shock”.  They used to call it “shell shock” in the First World War.  Now, they call it “post-traumatic stress disorder”.  More words, but softer, sucking the humanity out of the phrase.  Think about.  It doesn’t seem to hurt as much, does it?  It doesn’t seem as descriptive either.  This is one of Carlin’s messages on Parental Advisory.

And his messages are pretty simple:  Fuck the establishment!  Fuck political correctness!  Tell it like it is, stop beating around the bush, and the world would be a better place!  All with a wink and a smile.  David Lee Roth used to say, “If you wanna send a message, use Western Union.”  Well, if a message can be delivered in an entertaining way, I say go for it!

I miss George Carlin.  I think the world is a darker place without his humour and his insight.

5/5 stars