George Carlin: Carlin at Carnegie Hall [1982]

"What are you, a comedian?" The question is being asked by a cop, played by George Carlin in a semi-improvised sketch, of a wisecracking scofflaw who just happens to be the real George Carlin. Well, yes, he is a comedian, Mr. Policeman, as it turns out. Carlin, the popular satirist, is making a persuasive and very funny case that comedy suffers from negative associations in our language ("That guy is sure acting funny..."), and the joke is typical of his 1982 performance at Carnegie Hall, captured here for an HBO special. On the rebound from his second heart attack ("I lead Richard Pryor in heart attacks two to one, and he leads me in setting oneself on fire"), Carlin follows his rambling observations through such random topics as whether one can argue with Rice Krispies or reject a well-wisher's blessing of "Have a nice day." ("Maybe I don't feel like it. I'm ready, by God, for a crappy day.") Other items on the agenda include a look at the news ("A man attempting to walk around the world drowned today..."), an overview of foods that don't look edible, the poor manners of dogs, and Carlin's ever-expanding list of dirty words to provoke the authorities. --Tom Keogh

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