Thursday, November 12, 2009

DVD: George Carlin - It's Bad For Ya

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Directed by Rocco Urbisci
Written by George Carlin
Starring George Carlin

A year behind the US with this release, this is George Carlin's final HBO comedy special before his death at the age of 71 in 2008; his 14th HBO special in total, which is currently the record for a comedian. And, remarkably, it's only the second of his stand-up DVDs to get a commercial release in the UK, the other one being 'Complaints And Grievances' from 2001 (not released until 2003). 2005's 'Life Is Worth Losing' will finally be released in February 2010.

On his final tour Carlin delivered a typically vitriolic tirade tackling topics like death, children, old age and parents, and the original show was nominated for an Emmy. After release the CD equivalent won a Grammy for Best Comedy Album. How much his death contributed to this would probably be a valid question, but compared to most comedians' output, this is amongst the best. Against the formidable measuring stick of Carlin's own output however, it isn't his best.

Easily the funniest section is his closing rant about rights, where every one of his observations is on the nail when some of his previous ones in this show, like some of the ones about children, aren't. In some instances he is intentionally making silly arguments (like saying babies are ugly because their heads are too big), but some are just a little off the mark.

Other particularly funny segments are his observations on boring conversations, professional parents, swearing on the bible, and "the self-esteem movement", mostly concluded by the phrase which gave the show its name "It's all bulls**t folks and it's bad for ya."

If you're a Carlin fan, get this. We have precious little of his material available in this country and this is a good example of his work. The filming, sound and picture quality is of course first class as you'd expect for a show recorded as recently as March 2008, and George was still as sharp as ever, even at 70.

Hopefully this, February's release, and the two forthcoming books, will at some point be followed up by the 'All My Stuff' box set, which contains all 12 HBO specials from 1977's 'George Carlin At USC' through to 'Life Is Worth Losing' (the 1997 special was a kind of "best of" and isn't included).

“ a typically vitriolic tirade ”

Special Features: Too Hip for the Room* Carlin on December 17, 2007: Selections from the Archive of American Television s 3-hour interview with George Carlin /
Carlin on The Jackie Gleason Show - January 25, 1969

DVD Release Date: October 26, 2009
Studio: HBO
Feature Running Time: 69 mins
Certificate: 15
Language(s): English
Subtitles: None
Other Format(s): Blu-Ray / CD