Barbara and I went to see George Carlin Thursday night at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium here in Asheville. He’s still funny; he’s still irreverent; he’s still nasty as hell; but God is he getting old.
We saw him in the early 70’s at a big old theater in New Brunswick, NJ. That’s when his signature routine was “The Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV.” I think I remember all 7 of them, but now they can all be heard nightly on cable pay stations. Hell, regular cable stations like FX broadcast many of them.
That’s when Carlin would pace the stage like a caged tiger – back and forth from wing to wing - cussing and ranting. He still rants and cusses, mainly about the same subjects – religion and the government. But now, instead of pacing, he stands beside a table and reads from notes that are stacked on it. Much of the time it seems like he’s reading his jokes for the first time.
He reminded me of the new reporters on WLOS. You know they’re reading from a tele-prompter, but it’s like they’ve never seen the words before.
Before he came onstage, a disembodied voice announced that three new T-shirts were on sale in the lobby. One was covered in over 200 obscenities, one proclaimed “Jesus is Coming – Look Busy” and the third read “Simon Says Go Fuck Yourself.” Classic Carlin.
But I must say that I enjoyed the show. The presentation may have been lacking, but the material is still current and hilarious.
Carlin is a classic.