Dennis suggests George Carlin- It’s Bad For Ya (in Comedy). Filmed just last year, mere months before Carlin died, his last HBO special reveals the George was no hypocrite- at 70, he remained angry, cantankerous, and utterly unwilling to sentimentalize, well, anything. Over the years, Carlin
transformed himself into something more like a stand-up philosopher than a stand-up comic, with his overriding mission being to tear down the platitudes, the clichés, and the illusions with which we wallpaper over the harsh realities of life in order to sleep at night. F**k sleep! Carlin takes to task those who would euphemize death, who would fetishize children and parenting, who would demand allegiance to manufactured, manipulative, false loyalty oaths disguised as ‘ideals’, and he did it all while making funny faces, dropping f-bombs, and deploying the occasional fart noise. (Oh, and unlike the boorish, right-wing ‘comedians’ who try to cover their own racism, sexism, homophobia, and just plain meanness by claiming ‘I’m just saying what everyone else is too PC to say’, Carlin’s targets were the right ones, always; those in power, those who seek to manipulate language and thought for their own ends, the pretentious, the self-important, the terminally-deluded). In this, his 14th and last special, Carlin still stalks the stage (set like an old man’s study), even if he looks shockingly old (shoulders hunched, voice looser and thinner, face gone a bit jowly), and takes aim at his favorite targets with vigor, vinegar, and that other thing. He doesn’t hide from his own mortality, though, (like he would…) but goes right after his status as a self-described ‘old
f**k’ and his own mortality (see, I was euphemizing…I meant to say ‘the fact that he was gonna die soon’) with the same energy he attacks Bush, children, organized religion, Lance Armstrong, parents, and everything else in range. If the sight of an old man making jokes about his own impending death, the fact that there is no god, and the fact that all the religions of the world are simply offering a platitudinous placebo to allay the terror of those facts (a placebo which he will have no part of), makes you uncomfortable, well, then mission accomplished. Still funny, still on target, and still, and ever, one of my heroes.