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Carlin delivers raw outlook on life to packed audiences

March 05, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Comedian George Carlin told an audience at The Maryland Theatre Friday night that he titled his latest book "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops" because it "offends all three major religions."

Carlin played to nearly packed houses at two shows Friday, his third appearance at the theater in six years, said Pat Wolford, executive director of the theater.

Carlin, on stage, television and movies for nearly 40 years, was scheduled to play The Maryland Theatre in January, but a detour to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for 12 weeks postponed his appearance until Friday.

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He said in his rapid-fire opening monologue, in which he called himself "a modern man for the millennium," that he is "out of rehab and into denial." His language was beyond salty. Probably half of what he said could not appear in this newspaper. Nonetheless, his sense of righteousness and comedic ability to cut to the bone on issues of the day kept the audience in stitches.

In his opening soliloquy, rattled off machine-gun style, he said he is "high tech and low life. I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond. I'm interactive, hyperactive and from time to time, I'm radioactive. I'm a top gun and a bottom feeder, tireless and wireless, a hands-on, footloose head case. My output is down, but my income is up. I eat fast food in the slow lane, I'm cocked, locked and ready to rock ..." and on and on.

Later in the show, Carlin picked on suicide.

"Do you realize," he said, "that somewhere around the world, right this second, some guy is killing himself."

He said worldwide there are 1 million suicides per year. "That's 2,800 every day, one every 30 seconds."

Four times as many men commit suicide as women, even though women attempt it more, he said.

"That just shows that guys are better at it," he said. "Suicide is probably the most interesting thing you can do in your life - end it."

John Arch, 58, of Chambersburg, Pa., was sitting in the balcony during Carlin's first show Friday night.

"He's irreverent, but he makes good sense in a crazy sort of way," Arch said. "I remember him when he was Al Sleet, the hippie, dippy weatherman on the Smothers Brothers (television) show in the '60s, and I've been a fan ever since.

"Carlin has an anger in him that comes through. He is a breath of big-city fresh air. You need that when you live in a rural area like this."

"Big Al" East, 39, of Chambersburg, came to the show with Karen Higgs, 40, of Hagerstown.

"I like his hippie attitude," East said.

"I like his willingness to say what everybody thinks," Higgs said.

Greg and Linda Fortez of Potomac, Md., drove up to see Carlin perform.

"I like the way he makes fun of the English language," Greg Fortez said.

Another Maryland couple, Fred and Linda Harris of Frederick, Md., were waiting for the show to start. Both said they were longtime fans.

"I like it that he insults everybody," Linda Harris said. Her husband countered, "He makes everyday life funny."

"We can use a little humor right about now," his wife said.

"He's down-to-earth, truthful," said Chuck Brewer, 53, of Hagerstown.

"Some people may not like to hear it, but it's true," said his wife, Judy Brewer, also 53.

Comedian Dennis Blair, who travels with Carlin, was the warm-up act.

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