George Carlin Life Is Worth Losing

[Atlantic; 2006]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: stand-up comedy, prophecy
Others: Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, David Cross, Lewis Black, Bill Maher

"It's called 'The American Dream' because you have to be asleep to believe it"
— GC

If you haven't heard of George Carlin by now, you've been living a dream for about 30 years. This man has done almost everything there is to do for a comedian. He's recorded 18 original albums (including four Grammy winners), written several best-selling books, starred in his own short-lived Fox sitcom (aren't all the best Fox series cancelled after one or two seasons?), worked a recurring role as Mr. Conductor on PBS' Shining Time Station kids show, guested or hosted every talk/skit/variety show on the air since the '60s plus The Simpsons, received 13 HBO specials since 1977, voted number two on Comedy Central's Top 100 comedians of all time just behind Richard Pryor, and made several noted cameos in major films such as the Bill & Ted adventures and several Kevin Smith flicks. Furthermore, thanks to the Supreme Court case surrounding a radio station's airing of his infamous "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" bit, he has inadvertently become an immortal asterisk in the annals of legal and social history. In short, he is the greatest living comedian by all standards, without question.

So, you think the 69-year-old is gonna celebrate the closing of his first half a century in the biz by pulling his chutes and coasting to retirement? Fuck no. Carlin continues down the same critical path his last two fiery records went, though there's obviously a greater sense of dread to this set. Sure, before he proved conclusively that there is no God and provided an incomplete list of all the supercilious first-world people who deserve to die horribly (self-help book readers, parents of honor students), but, staying true to the title of Life Is Worth Losing, Carlin spends most of his time here on all forms and circumstances of killing, torture, post-apocalyptic criminal anarchy (all you have to do is run out of power), and even a little death-related sexual activity. He discusses the purposeful genres of death as one of those interesting human foibles as opposed to, say, describing our reactions to pulling pieces off our bodies from Complaints & Grievances. Once he had argued for football over baseball, but now he bluntly believes the true American pastime — keeping in mind that killing brown people is really more of a tradition — is superfluous consumption at any human cost, being that the US is now a coast-to-coast shopping mall and everyone seems to think that's just fucking peachy. Any trace of his early song and dance, wonderful WINO style is long gone as he outlines point-by-point exactly how miserably we're being fucked by our corporate-owned government every day of our lives -- worse today than at any other time in modern history.

Of course, every word is inarguably true, but I usually found something hopeful in his words before, at least the feeling that it's not too late and we can still make a meaningful difference. Like on You Are All Diseased, he offers theories on how you can help your children by leaving them the fuck alone and describes a viable alternative to God involving Joe Pesci, while the late 2001-released C&G saw George using a good deal of time submitting cooperative suggestions to help King Bush The Second straighten out a post-9/11, pre-Iraq II America. It now sounds like George has finally given up hope of getting through to the ignorant majority. Seriously, how bad do things have to get before our greatest philosophers lose all hope? Listen to this CD and find out. Please keep kicking our asses, George. We need it. Joe bless this man.

1. A Modern Man
2. Three Little Words
3. The Suicide Guy
4. Extreme Human Behaviour
5. The All-Suicide TV Channel
6. Dumb Americans
7. Pyramid Of The Hopeless
8. Autoerotic Asphyxia
9. Posthumous Female Transplants
10. Yeast Infection
11. Coast-To-Coast Emergency

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