George Carlin on the Tonight Show

Just watched George Carlin on Jay Leno’s show.

First let me say that I’ve always considered George a great comedian, but his performance tonight might change my opinion of him.

All of his jokes were recycled from his old books and old comedic shows. This is not necessarily a horrible thing I’ve seen some great performers redo old material brilliantly. However his stand-up routine was poorly performed and came across as dry (not in the funny way) unemotional and rehearsed.

His after interview with Jay redeemed him quite a bit as far as general funniness. However this comedic routine has inspired me not to ever pay to see him live.

An overall disappointing tonight show for me, but its good to see he’s healthy and I admit that if he ever wrote another book I would almost definitely buy it.

I’ve always loved George Carlin, both in stand-up and his books. I even liked his Fox TV show back from the early 90’s.

I’ve noticed that many times when any famous comedian performs on national TV, they tend to do the “safe” routines, or ones we’re very familiar with.

I’ll just have to take your word for it that George would actually be funnier the CLOSER he gets to Jay Leno. I would think the opposite would be true.

See the more I think about it, the more I realize that the problem wasn’t the old material, it was the material he chose to present in the first place. His album was hilarious, and it consisted of him pretty much picking a topic and then ranting about it for a while followed by his hilarious alternative theories and ideas.

This wasn’t anything like that, he just pick some of the bits from his random thoughts sections and said them without emphasis or conviction.

He sounded more like Ben Stine tossing off the same one-liners he’s been using for years, if he would have thrown in even a touch of that anger that he’s known for, I probably wouldn’t be writing this.

He sounded old, and like he’d lost his passion and fire that i liked about him.

It’s what has happened to great innovators from D.W. Griffith to John Lennon: eventually your proteges catch up and pass you by.

(Personal note: I was in the audience the night in 1972 when Carlin was arrested for obscenity, the only time in his career when that happened.)

Old George is probably starting to show his age a bit, he’s been down a rough road. I think he gets a bit “ho hum” about national tv because he can’t really let loose. All the HBO specials I have seen George do were awesome. George, he’s a classic.