George Carlin: Life Is Worth Losing (2005)

TV Special  |  TV-MA  |   |  Documentary, Comedy
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George Carlin continues making people laugh with his 13th HBO stand-up special.

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George Carlin continues making people laugh with his 13th HBO stand-up special.

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Some look at life on the bright side. He prefers the grave side.


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TV-MA | See all certifications »
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5 November 2005 (USA)  »

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George Carlin: I Like it When a Lot of People Die  »

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Broadcast live on HBO on 5 November 2005. See more »

Quotes

George Carlin: Human beings will do anything, anything. I am convinced. That's why when all those beheadings started in Iraq, it didn't bother me. A lot of people here were horrified, "Whaaaa, beheadings! Beheadings!" What, are you fucking surprised? Just one more form of extreme human behavior. Besides, who cares about some mercenary civilian contractor from Oklahoma who gets his head cut off? Fuck 'em. Hey Jack, you don't want to get your head cut off? Stay the fuck in Oklahoma. They ain't cuttin' off heads...
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References Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005) See more »

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Brilliant and Extremely Timely
8 October 2006 | by (Los Angeles, United States) – See all my reviews

Extremely few comedians are successful, even fewer for more than a year or two and the majority of those few that are still working the large venues, who prove themselves to be other than just some flash-in-the-pan dressed up in an ill-fitting suit of success by an aggressive publicity team and a gullible, entertainment starved audience; usually build their careers on one or two jokes that they've turned into their shtick: they have a quirky personality that is charming or, at least, familiar. Essentially they're one-trick-ponies with long legs. This isn't something I was really thinking about in much detail until I watched the exception to all these rules: George Carlin in Life Is Worth Losing. Here is a man who is nearing seventy years old (as of this writing), his fiftieth year in show business and he presents us with his finest, most polished work of all. He is one of those exceptionally rare breeds, in any given professional field, who not only improves with time, but substantially so to an extent that you clearly see all of his work until now has been the foundation for the masterpiece he offers us now. Not one to be particularly impressed by the vast majority of so-called "great" things, it took me a while after my first viewing of Life Is Worth Losing to absorb what I had seen and several repeated viewings shortly thereafter to understand I was witnessing a truly great comedian, a genius, THE master of his craft. In a world where the vast majority of "great entertainment" is hyped up bullsh*t and mediocrity, a passing fad at best that sours on your second taste if not turning bitterly toxic, George Carlin is a man who shows us what real, adult comedy should be: a mixture of cleverly constructed fun and intelligent material that makes you think about our comically tragic existence. This is George's best performance and material so far, his most thoughtful, thought out, thought provoking and heartfelt.

I really expected to see and hear universal applause and praise for this great work. Instead, I was surprised to hear and read so many negative reviews about this masterpiece. Surely these can't be the same George Carlin fans who loved his work before. Especially those who said this work was "bitter". If anything I found his latest offering to be a lot less angry than most of his previous work and more thoughtful. Then I realized what all the fuss was about: in this performance George is holding up the biggest mirror he's held up so far. He's forcing more Americans to look (and laugh if they have the courage) at themselves than he ever has before. He leaves very few stones unturned in his satirical offering. For a start he talks about a lot of Americans right off the bat when he discusses obesity, as a third of Americans are classified as medically obese and about half of those as morbidly obese, according to the latest American Medical Association studies. He also talks about mindless consumerism. Between these two subjects he's covered the vast majority of Americans. And since Americans are becoming more dimwitted and righteous, the bulk of them will not laugh at themselves, the purpose of intelligent humor but prefer the sadistic, mean spirited "humor" they see on television (which George satirizes in "The All-Suicide TV Channel") or read in those idiotic emails too many people forward to everyone in their address book with titles like "10 jokes about rag-heads" or "Stop complaining you homeless person". (Some of these atrocious emails that preach intolerance are erroneously attributed to George Carlin but in fact are written by other people, none of whom have the courage to take credit for these awful, embarrassingly written pieces. Sources: see www.snopes.com or www.georgecarlin.com)

If you watch "Life is WorthLosing" for just the opening and closing segments, you will see pure brilliance. The opening segment "A Modern Man" is a work of genius and you will be awestruck by George's mastery of the English language as well as his selection of timely material. The closing segment "Coast to Coast Emergency" is actually a very hopeful piece but I think too many people get confused by it because he's discussing the bitterness of the average person and is revealing that the solution to most people's unhappiness is to rid themselves of their own bitterness. Don't listen to the critics of this work, it's a fantastic piece. Typical of the vast majority of naysayers, they are really talking about themselves when they describe George as "bitter". It's why it is always a risk to tell the truth because most people want to kill the messenger that brings them bad news, especially when that "news" (intentional ignorance actually) is about themselves.

This is George Carlin at his polished, intellectual best. It is a masterpiece of comic genius that you will want to add to your library and watch again and again; especially after one of those too frequently increasing moments of realizing the dumbing-down of your fellow countrymen and women is an alarming reality.


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