From Vegas...

GEORGE CARLIN AT THE MGM GRAND

By • Jan 26th, 2001 •

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It’s a great gig if you can get it. Bitch, bitch, bitch, and, people pay to listen to you. Most of us bitch about the state of the world and get told to shut up by friends who already know what the problems are. Bitching is the easy part. Finding solutions is far more difficult. Still George Carlin has made an enviable career and still has drawing power. It is one that has been built on his abject irreverence and the limited mental faculties of his audiences.

Two years ago we saw George Carlin here in Las Vegas. Now he has returned for a two-week engagement filling in for a Strip show that is in transition. Carlin said the show would be half old material and half new material. He lied. After two years the current show is about ninety percent the old show-word for word. Frankly, it wasn’t all that funny the first time.

When he finally did get to the “new material” he literally picked up the script from the table and read it to the audience. The entire sequence lasted about five minutes and could be memorized by any good actor in a few hours – tops. Besides, I’m not sure where he got the material but I’ve heard it before. It deals with condensing the Ten Commandments down to just two. They are: “Be honest,” and, “Don’t kill anybody who doesn’t need it” (or words to that effect).

For reasons unknown, there were quite a few people in the audience who seemed quite amused. It was hard to tell if they really thought it was a funny routine or if they had paid too much money and were bound to prove they were enjoying themselves.

Although this was an adult audience, much of the humor is aimed at the fourteen-year-old level. You know, fart jokes. Yes, there were the obligatory bodily excretion commentaries as well. In order to appeal to the mental capabilities of the older set, vulgarity is elevated to four syllables instead of just four letters.

Bottom line is that Carlin has nothing positive to offer about anything. But if you are a fan you already know that. However, you also know most of the routine by heart as well. My suggestion is don’t spend your money on the show. Just wait for the next HBO special and you won’t miss a thing. It will cost a lot less and you won’t have to publicly admit that you enjoyed the show.

(If you are a George Carlin devotee, be alerted that what are considered his two best tv specials have been released on one DVD from Columbia/Tri Star – George Carlin Double Feature: Jammin’ in New York + Don’ It Again. The Spanish subtitles should be interesting…)

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