George Carlin: Playin’ with Your Head

Synopsis: George Carlin, one of the greatest comedians of all time, presents one of his most hysterical stand-up comedy performances in this one-man show recorded at the Beverly Theater in Los Angeles. Routines included are “Losing Things,” “Charities,” “Sports,” “Hello and Goodbye,” “Battered Plants,” “Earrings,” and “A Moment of Silence.” Also featured is a short film entitled The Envelope co-starring Vic Tayback.

Growing up in New York City, George Carlin was always the class clown. He went on to become one of the greatest comedians of all time, with appeal that spans generations. His brand of provocative sociopolitical commentary and scathing comic style has brought him four Grammy Awards®, most recently in 2002. Carlin holds the distinct honor of being the first ever host of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and has starred in 12 HBO specials and many blockbuster films. He continues to perform to sold-out audiences at venues across the country.

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George Carlin: Playin’ with Your Head 8.0

As I mentioned in my previous George Carlin blurb, his shows distinguish themselves by the stage set ups and some of the production. What I find interesting is how he seemed to progressively have more money to produce his specials over time – case-in-point, this show’s stage designs as well as its opening and closing segment, ‘The Envelope’.

‘The Envelope’ is a black and white detective story that eventually ties in a mysterious envelope with Carlin’s on-stage routine. It’s an impressive step up over the poorly animated bits from ‘Carlin On Campus’, in that money was actually poured into it for the sets, costuming, and direction.

Unfortunately, these opening and closings bits are ill-conceived as stand-alone segments; they don’t seem to go anywhere, the dialogue is poor, and the staging seriously lacks imagination. It feels like amateur hour. However, having said this, they still make for excellent bookends to the show, in that it defines the stand-up show as something a bit more than just a guy ranting on stage in front of an audience. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

Carlin’s opening segment about greetings was very good, incorporating his flair for deconstructing behaviour and his absurdist take on humanity. The closing bit on sports was especially funny, dissecting all manners of sports and eliminating them from the category based on his own (sometimes random) criteria. I plan on showing this to an armchair sportsman friend of mine – I’m sure he’d get a kick out of it. As for the rest of the show, it was standard fare.

But, all in all, ‘Playin’ With your Head’ is a pretty good special. At a little under an hour, it may feel short, and it’s not entirely smoking hot, but, overall, it’s an excellent show; Carlin had good energy and the flow was smooth. The only real misfire is ‘The Envelope’. But, given that it doesn’t kill much time, it’s filler that can be endured and/or overlooked with relative ease. happy0027 Free Emoticons   Happy

4 responses to “George Carlin: Playin’ with Your Head

    • I will have to check the credits in case it’s a known song. It could also have been composed by Kevin Kiner specifically for the piece.

      Bear with me: it’ll be a couple of days, but I will get back to you on that.

      The Thorn

    • Alright… so I checked the DVD and the name of tune is not listed.

      The music is by Kevin Kiner, however, so perhaps this will help you. I did a quick online check and couldn’t find the answer; even his kevinkiner.com was unhelpful. But here’s his profile on imdb, if it can help you in your quest: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0454349/

      Good luck!
      The Thorn

  1. Pingback: George Carlin: Personal Favorites | thecriticaleye·

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