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Posts tagged as george carlin

In a Rare Early Performance, Richard Pryor Sings and George Carlin Gets in Character

The Paley Center for Media, which has locations in both New York and LA, dedicates itself to the preservation of television and radio history. Inside their vast archives of more than 150,000 television shows, commercials, and radio programs, there are thousands of important and funny programs waiting to be rediscovered by comedy nerds like you and me. Each week, this column will highlight a new gem waiting for you at the Paley Library to quietly laugh at. (Seriously, it’s a library, so keep it down.)

When I write an article that reaches pretty deep into the archives, I might spend a lot of time giving some context: talking about how [...]

Burn It Down and Start Again: 4 Comics Who Threw Out Their Material and Reinvented Themselves

Throwing out material is a frightening prospect for any entertainer. For some performers it can take years to compile a half-hour show. Especially in comedy, recycled material can feel reheated quickly; it ends careers of comedians who refuse to change their once popular, soon hackneyed material.

Today with successes like Louis C.K. and John Mulaney, it’s hard for comedians not to feel pressure to accumulate new material annually.

Some comedians could ride on catchphrases for a few years, but the idea of starting fresh and reinventing oneself has existed in comedy for half a century. Throwing out material is daunting, but it’s a technique to get better and learn about what [...]

A Young George Carlin and an Old Lucy Perform with Carol Burnett

The Paley Center for Media, which has locations in both New York and LA, dedicates itself to the preservation of television and radio history. Inside their vast archives of more than 150,000 television shows, commercials, and radio programs, there are thousands of important and funny programs waiting to be rediscovered by comedy nerds like you and me. Each week, this column will highlight a new gem waiting for you at the Paley Library to quietly laugh at. (Seriously, it’s a library, so keep it down.)

The Carol Burnett Show is up there with Murphy Brown, The Phil Silvers Show, and Moonlighting as shows that were massive hits during their [...]

Richard Pryor and George Carlin's Have a Conversation

The New York Times brought together Rain Pryor and Kelly Carlin, daughters of two of the greatest stand-ups ever, to have a conversation. They discuss trying to pursue the art their fathers were legends at and tell stories about living with these geniuses/maniacs. Rain Pryor: "I dyed my hair pink when I was 13, and my dad threatened to kick me out of the house. He was like, 'There will be no punk rockers here.' I was like, “You just snorted coke off a [prostitute’s chest]." That is pretty much perfect.

Louis CK Honors George Carlin In 2010 NYPL Tribute

While the funniest part of this video is that incredibly blase host (you know she's just finishing her sudoku up there), the rest of Louis CK's George Carlin tribute will having you tearing up like Louis CK giving a George Carlin tribute. In a video from NYPL's "A Tribute To George Carlin" from March 2010 (which was just uploaded to YouTube), CK credits Carlin with making him seriously laugh for the first time (what do dogs do on their day off?), as well as teaching him the value of systematically throwing away your material. "When you're done telling jokes about airplanes and dogs, and you throw those [...]

The 20 Greatest Standup Specials of All Time

Modern standup has been around in one form or another since vaudeville, but it’s only been since the late ‘70s that the standup special has gained traction as the crowning achievement of a successful comic. Fortunately, the beginnings of the standup special were as fertile as rock ‘n’ roll’s birth 25 years prior, with many of the all-time greats setting templates right from the start.

The material always comes first, of course, but as a video document of a honed act it’s also important to appreciate the visual elements — the framing, editing, and backdrop — and how they enhance or detract from the pacing and quality of the jokes.

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George Carlin on How He Came Up With Material, Advice to Young Comedians, and His Influence

I just released an e-book called Conversations with Carlin: An In-Depth Discussion with George Carlin about Life, Sex, Death, Drugs, Comedy, Words, and so much more, a novella-length transcript of a five-hour interview I conducted with comedy legend George Carlin in 2001. As the title indicates, I spoke to Carlin about not just expected topics such as comedy and words – two topics covered at length in the book – but also about more personal and philosophical subjects including religion, war, morality, and the importance of romantic love. Here’s an exclusive excerpt.

“George Carlin Way” Is One Step Closer to Becoming a Real Street

A year-long battle to name part of a Manhattan street after legendary comedian George Carlin is finally coming to a close after a process that lasted more than a year, according to The Columbia Spectator. A community board voted to name the 400 block of 121st Street, between Amsterdam and Morningside Park, "George Carlin Way," and now all that has to happen is for city council to approve the decision. The fight was led by stand-up Kevin Bartini, a warm-up comic for The Daily Show, who collected 9,000 signatures to support the renaming. Carlin grew up on the 500 block of 121st Street, which is where Bartini originally proposed [...]

Looking Back at Richard Pryor's Return to the Tonight Show

The Paley Center for Media, which has locations in both New York and LA, dedicates itself to the preservation of television and radio history. Inside their vast archives of more than 120,000 television shows, commercials, and radio programs, there are thousands of important and funny programs waiting to be rediscovered by comedy nerds like you and me. Each week, this column will highlight a new gem waiting for you at the Paley Library to quietly laugh at. (Seriously, it’s a library, so keep it down.)

On June 9th, 1980, in the midst of filming the movie Bustin’ Loose, Richard Pryor set himself on fire while freebasing cocaine as the [...]

The Arc of a Standup Career: George Carlin

George Carlin recorded his first solo album in late 1966. On it, he does a bit about a folk protest song that airs on a fictional radio station called Wonderful WINO. Carlin sings the song — by a group he calls Danny and the Demonstrators, no less — in a goofy, drugged-out voice. The song goes like this:

“Don’t want no war/Don’t want no war/Don’t want no war. Don’t want no job, neither!”

The audience goes nuts. The bit kills.

The album that bit comes from, Take-Offs and Put-Ons, was recorded at the end of the first phase of Carlin’s stand-up career. You could call it the straight phase. [...]

Due to a Clerical Error, There's Now a Catholic Church on George Carlin Way

It's been three years in the making, but a bill was finally signed into law today to name part of a Manhattan street after late comedian George Carlin. Only a one-block portion of the street was supposed to be named George Carlin Way, but, because of a clerical error, a two-block stretch will be given the name and that second block includes both Carlin's childhood home and Corpus Christi Church. Priests at the church have opposed the plan to rename the street for years and that's why the decision was made to not name Corpus Christi's block after Carlin, a proud atheist who often goofed on religion in [...]

Arctic Monkeys Frontman Alex Turner Says the Band Is Inspired by Louis C.K. and George Carlin

"There's this thing where Louis C.K. is talking about George Carlin, who's this famous American comedian who used to completely tear up his act at the end of every year and throw it out and write a whole new act. And in doing that you eventually run out of things to talk about. So you start looking inside to whatever darkness may lay there. And that's where you end up going. I think there's a weird symmetry with that and songwriting."

-Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner to NME on how Louis C.K.'s one-special-a-year model has influenced the band. He also explains who George Carlin is.

The Art of Comedy Throughout the Ages and 'History of the Joke'

It’s no secret that sometimes comedy is taken a bit too seriously. Comedy obsessives love not just the jokes, but the mechanics and emotions of the comedy world. There are a raft of comedy documentaries exploring comedy and comedians, but do they really have anything significant to add to the discussion? This series looks at comedy documentaries and whether they’re interesting, insightful, and possibly even…funny?

In 2005, the History Channel dipped into the world of comedy documentaries with a two-hour special, History of the Joke, structured around the idea of looking for the world’s best joke. The special is produced and hosted by Lewis Black, who explains that all [...]

George Carlin May Get His Own Street, Pave Way For Seinfeld Speedway and Lenny Bruce Lane

George Carlin's daughter has started a petition to rename the block Carlin grew up on "George Carlin Way." "I know my dad loved his neighborhood deeply and you know, I think it's important that New Yorkers know where he came from," Kelly Carlin says. You can sign the petition here and change the fate of the 500 block of West 121st street forever.

With any luck, this story will set the precedent for other awesomely named geographical areas, like Cosby Court and Pryor Park and Mel Brooks Brook. And they could play classic comedy albums on the corresponding streets! Okay, I just invented the nerdiest theme park ever.

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