(By Randy Lane) Judd Apatow’s documentary, George Carlin’s American Dream, perfectly illustrates the three-step process to becoming a successful media personality. The film sheds light on Carlin’s development of contents, characterand execution.
Carlin’s early career was more mainstream with character tracks like The Hippy Dippy Weatherman. In the documentary, W. Kamau Bell points out that Carlin was looking for his comedic voice. Of finding her voice, Carlin said, “I missed who I was. The person I was onstage was not the same person I was offstage.
He ditched the costume, grew a beard and long hair, and became a voice for the counterculture. He maintained that voice throughout his career.
- Being authentic and staying true to character is the way to emotionally connect with the audience.
- RLC Character Definition helps talent discover their voice and how to express it across all media platforms.
Carlin’s love for language has led him to be an incredible wordsmith. He skillfully took the pun to the next level. In one of his tracks, he noted that the birth control pill doesn’t have a catchy name. He joked: “How about inconceivable Where mom bombshell?”
Observational comedy king Jerry Seinfeld noted that Carlin took observational comedy to the next level, saying, “It was more the elevation of the ordinary.”
George Carlin said, “Out of 400,000 words in English, there are only seven you can’t say on TV.” He had such a cultural impact with his track 7 Dirty Words, it went to the FCC and all the way to the Supreme Court.
- If you’re an edgy personality, take Carlin’s advice and balance the edge with some whimsical fun.
- If you’re getting old after the demo or nearing retirement age, think about how Carlin handled it. In the 80s, the media declared it obsolete. His response was to create entertainment topical and pertinent content that restored its popularity in the 2000s.
Although Carlin seemed to riff spontaneously, he was a relentless planner. He took meticulous notes, continually editing, refining and repeating stories and bits.
All of this preparation allowed Carlin to execute his performance in a seemingly off-the-cuff manner. Mark Twain said it best: “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”
- Accurate planning is the key to memorable and engaging content.
- Carlin was also comfortable with silence. The silence invites the audience to lean in and highlights your points of view.
Watch what many of today’s top comedians, including Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and Stephen Colbert, have to say about the genius of George Carlin