More than a decade after his death, it’s not uncommon to see clips from George Carlin’s stand-up sets circulating. Carlin was an irreverent, searing, and deeply funny comic. Over the course of his decades-long career, Carlin released more than a dozen comedy specials. He was a late night staple, and even opened the inaugural Saturday Night Live show in 1975. From his partnership with Jack Burns and more conventional early years to the counterculture comedy icon he emerged as later, Carlin’s career was nothing short of fascinating. Now a new two-part documentary is exploring just that. From Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio, George Carlin’s American Dream dives into the comic’s life and career. And its first trailer gives us a fascinating glimpse at the man behind the jokes.
According to HBO, the documentary is chock full of archival material, from letters and photos to films and interviews. It certainly sounds like a fascinating look inside Carlin’s life.
This is the synopsis for George Carlin’s American Dream from HBO:
The documentary tracks Carlin’s rise to fame and opens an intimate window into his personal life, including his childhood in New York City, his long struggle with drugs that took its toll on his health, his brushes with the law, his loving relationship with Brenda, his wife of 36 years, and his second marriage to Sally Wade. Intimate interviews with Carlin and Brenda’s daughter, Kelly Carlin, offer unique insight into her family’s story and her parents’ enduring love and partnership.
As one of the biggest stand-ups of all time, it’s unsurprising a whole lot of comics cite Carlin as one of their inspirations. And a whole lot of actors and comedians participated in the documentary to shed light on the icon. They include Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Colbert, Bill Burr, Bette Midler, W. Kamau Bell, Sam Jay, Judy Gold, Jon Stewart, and Carlin’s manager Jerry Hamza. Plus members of the Carlin family also participated, including his daughter Kelly Carlin, his widow Sally Wade, and his brother Patrick Carlin, who recently passed. And, per HBO, that’s just a small taste of those speaking about Carlin.
Part one of George Carlin’s American Dream debuts on May 20, on HBO, with part two arriving on May 21. However, both episodes drop on HBO Max on May 20.