Inside the Actors Studio: George Carlin

Synopsis: For almost fifteen years and more than 200 episodes, James Lipton has sat down with some of the world’s most accomplished actors and directors for penetrating, fascinating interviews. Lipton’s studious research and enlightened curiosity has inspired his guests to open up and confess their deepest thoughts about the art of acting.

Hosted by New York’s famed New School For Social Research, each episode is taped before an audience of students at The Actors Studio Drama School. In addition to his duties as the show’s executive producer and host, Lipton is also the Dean of the school.

The series premiered with Paul Newman, an Actors Studio alumnus and former president (1982-1994) and has been honored with multiple Emmy Award nominations. In this episode, comedian-actor George Carlin is interviewed about his career.
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Inside the Actors Studio: George Carlin 8.0

eyelights: the visual aids. the serious, professional exchange between Carlin and Lipton.
eyesores: the commercial break edits.

James Lipton: “In a way, I’ve been waiting all my life to ask this. George Carlin, what is your favorite curse word?”
George Carlin (after consideration): “Motherfucker. Because it has such balance.”

Surprise! George Carlin was not just a stand up comedian, he was also an actor. He’s been in numerous productions (ex: the ‘Bill and Ted’ films, ‘Car Wash’, ‘Dogma‘, ‘Jersey Girl‘, ‘The Prince of Tides’, ‘Scary Movie 3’), although his roles tended to be minor.

In this episode of ‘Inside the Actors Studio’, we mostly get to know Carlin in a general fashion – in main lines that have been expanded upon in ‘George on George‘ and ‘Unmasked‘. This here is a general overview of his life from start to finish, but we also go through his acting career quickly towards the end of the show.

Along the way, Lipton coaxes Carlin into quoting from some of his stand up routines, such as the seven dirty words bit. This helps to pepper the hour, but there are also a large number of photographs along the way as well as clips of some of his HBO shows and motion picture performances.

The key problem is in the editing, because you can tell that it doesn’t feature the complete exchange between Carlin and Lipton – it was edited for commercial breaks. That was a disappointment to me, as I’d love to have seen the whole thing. Perhaps someday we will get the chance. I hope so.

As it stands, this interview of George Carlin remains appealing, but there was nothing new in it for me. Thankfully, Carlin is as interesting as ever, even if the material is slightly stale, and I enjoyed Lipton’s style as well as the show’s format. This would be an excellent primer for the Carlin novice.

Date of viewing: October 26, 2012

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