Ramblin’ St. George
Comedian Carlin serves up absurdities at Colusa Casino
Comedian George Carlin returned to the North Valley last Friday night for two sold-out shows at Colusa Casino. Comfortably garbed in a T-shirt and sweats, the bearded funnyman treated his audience to his familiar yet hilarious diatribes regarding rubbernecking at accident sites, “people who oughta be killed,” politics, language and so forth. Carlin also took the opportunity to trek into newer material, including bits on reality television and suicide.
I had the opportunity to listen in on Carlin’s first show of the evening. The promoters of the event had invited the media early to attend the second show, and, situated upstairs and behind the stage, we could hear the first show in progress. What was interesting was how Carlin paced the first show to fit that particular audience. He moved a bit faster through the familiar stuff, saving his most devastating delivery for the new material—in particular, a twisted but hysterically funny discussion of suicide and how it’s bound to be translated eventually into a reality series.
Suicide, of course, is not funny. What is funny is Carlin’s examination of the American psyche. By insisting that we would watch literally anything on television, he calls into question what we actually are watching now. By pushing toward an extreme in his comedy, he throws the reality of the present state of things into sharp contrast.
Suicide is not funny. It is the absurdity of its being served up as entertainment by a ratings-hungry network that produces the humor: “Must Die TV!”
The second show was good as well, but for slightly different reasons. Carlin eased into the familiar stuff, tended to be a bit more conversational, and produced a few off-the-cuff comedic epiphanies absent from the first show.
“Somebody’s gotta think of this shit," admitted Carlin, at one point. "Apparently, I was appointed."