George Carlin: Carlin on Campus [1984]

The dean of observational humorists in America preaches to a like-minded choir in this lively 1984 college performance by George Carlin. Beginning with a little offstage psychodrama (albeit funny) about the pain of being a class clown in Catholic school, Carlin on Campus soon hits the boards with the former Hippie-Dippie Weatherman's take on Brooklynese pronunciations of the names of sexually transmitted disease ("hoipes"), plus a prayer for the separation of church and state, feuds between breakfast foods, and the absurdity of wearing jungle camouflage in a desert. Carlin's tone and choice of material toughen up as the show goes along: he makes an astute assault on passive-aggressive drivers, lobbies hard for his "world's most obscene cheer," and suggests that people may be ready for "full-contact chess." Much of this stuff is pretty funny, though the program is marred a bit by reliance on some lowbrow, pretaped material that punctuates Carlin's monologue. A contrarian to the end, however, Carlin is going to do what he's going to do, and that's part of his charm. --Tom Keogh

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