After the comedy genius of Peter Cook opened up the floodgates of alternative comedy with Derek and Clive, there have been many imitators and comedians who use shock, rather than craft, to get a laugh.
But, rather like a master such as Picasso versus the most modern art, you can still spot the talented craftsman from the pretentious imitator.
George Carlin, after 40+ years of professional stand-up was a man who knew his craft and hence could be very clever and innovative at exploring shocking subjects and getting the maximum number of laughs out of them. If you don't believe me, listen to a sample of the final track ('Why we don't need the 10 Commandments') and tell me of a comedian who could have equalled his comedic economy of language.
This CD is not for the faint-hearted and, although Carlin had craft, his material is no-holds barred. As an example (that won't get edited by Amazon for profanity!), there is track 2 - where he discusses how you shouldn't stop if you run over someone in a car - "Who has time?!" There is also the introductions to each of the 'People who ought to be killed' tracks: "Here's some more parents who ought to be beaten with heavy clubs and left bleeding in the moonlight" and "Here's another pack of mutants who ought to be pencilled in for a sudden meeting with the Angel of Death".
Essentially this CD is split into 5 sections - the intro (about 9/11*), Traffic accidents (as above), 'Things that come off your body', 'People who ought to be killed' (majority of the CD) and, finally, his notorious treatment of the 10 commandments.
Unlike You Are All Diseased, the *whole* CD is worth listening to and still comes over as fresh and very funny (depending on taste). Naturally, as with most of his work, the last track is the best one, but the material off the start of the CD is also first-rate.
The one fault I'd single out though is that too much of the material is basically comedic-rant. This was worse on the aforementioned previous album and, although funny, it is a little too much on here. Still, given the title, it is to be expected.
Overall, I'd say this CD is under-rated and provides a first class example of the art of stand-up. If only George Carlin were still with us today (to teach our comedians), then we would be saved the amateurish efforts of the shockingly inept.
* - Something interesting I noted from this CD is that it was recorded a mere 2 months after 9/11, making George Carlin the first brave atheist to speak out against religion after 9/11. Before Dawkins, even before Harris, there was Carlin.
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