Indeed, Carlin’s granular dissection of US politics remains to be broadly quoted at this time, and the who’s who of comedians who weigh in on his legacy replicate how his affect has echoed properly past his dying in 2008.

“I needed to be identical to him, getting each phrase in the right spot,” Jerry Seinfeld says. “Because when he did it, it thrilled me.”

Assembled with a degree of ambition worthy of Carlin’s verbal dexterity, administrators Judd Apatow (who not way back produced an identical ode to Garry Shandling) and Michael Bonfiglio have endeavored to contextualize the comedian’s work via key occasions that framed these years, starting with the clean-cut Carlin of the ’60s who rebelled in opposition to Vietnam and assassinations earlier than rising his hair and placing an anti-establishment tone.

Originally impressed by comedian actors like Danny Kaye, Carlin, in the intensive interviews with him woven into the 4 hours, says, “I solely knew that I liked standing up in entrance of individuals and having their consideration,” having grown up raised by a single mom with out understanding his abusive father.

Influenced by Lenny Bruce, who additionally championed his early profession, Carlin made the compulsory compromises (it is unusual to see him and Richard Pryor collaborating in sketches on hokey selection reveals) earlier than flexing his comedic muscle tissue, freely rattling off the “filthy words” that received legions of younger followers whereas placing his right to say them in entrance of the Supreme Court.

Made with appreciable enter from Carlin’s daughter, Kelly, “American Dream” can be a love story, recounting his whirlwind romance with spouse Brenda, their respective struggles with medication and alcohol, the ache he skilled in dropping her to most cancers and his second marriage after her dying.

As Stephen Colbert notes, Carlin was in lots of respects the Beatles of comedy. After producing a string of bestselling albums in the ’70s, he was deemed more and more irrelevant as that decade got here to an in depth, earlier than reintroducing himself, but once more, partially via the comparatively nascent format of HBO standup specials.

Carlin additionally acknowledged shifts in the comedic tides, responding to a standup flamethrower like Sam Kinison and evolving his act in ways in which grew darker and extra pessimistic about the prospects for humanity in the twilight of his profession and life.

Simply as an act of curation, a few of the clips are fairly spectacular, equivalent to seeing Carlin with John Lennon and Yoko Ono on “The Mike Douglas Show,” cracking up Dinah Shore, or the gamut of his appearances on “The Tonight Show” via the years.

As famous, Carlin’s mastery of the standup craft has resonated throughout many years, and continues to achieve this as information occasions immediate admirers to quote and recirculate his previous routines. “”I nonetheless refer to him all the time,” Jon Stewart says.

While the title is meant to be barely ironic, in that sense, Carlin’s “American Dream” marches on.

“George Carlin’s American Dream” will air May 20-21 at 8 p.m. ET on HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.

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