George Carlin’s American Dream (2022)

  • 2-part posthumous HBO special

  • Runtime: Part 1 = 1 hr 52 min. Part 2 = 1 hr, 45 min.

  • HBO Documentary Films, Rise Films and Apatow Productions

  • Editor: Joe Beshenkovsky

  • Executive producers: Judd Apatow, Bonfiglio, Teddy Leifer, Jerry Hamza, and Kelly Carlin

  • Executive producers (for HBO): Lisa Heller and Nancy Abraham


Here is the description from HBO’s page:

George Carlin’s American Dream, directed by Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio, chronicles the life and work of the legendary comedian.

Carlin’s career spanned half a century during which he headlined 14 HBO comedy specials and appeared on The Tonight Show over 130 times, constantly evolving with the times and staying sharply resonant up until his death in 2008 and beyond. The documentary examines a cultural chameleon who is remembered as one of the most influential stand-up comics of all time.

The two-part documentary tracks Carlin’s rise to fame and opens an intimate window into Carlin’s 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.

Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Colbert, Bill Burr, Bette Midler, W. Kamau Bell, Sam Jay, Judy Gold and Jon Stewart are among those interviewed for the project.

Here are HBO’s further descriptions of part one:

In the 1960s, young George Carlin cuts his teeth in comedy – but stifles his rebellious instincts to achieve mainstream success. As the counterculture emerges, Carlin reinvents himself, shocking and delighting 1970s audiences with sets like “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television,” while battling personal demons.

And here’s part two:

After a slump in the ’80s, Carlin comes back with a vengeance, reaching new heights – and new audiences – with another reinvention that highlights his prescient political commentary and sharply honed observations about the state of America and the world. Following his death in 2008, fellow comics reflect on his enduring legacy.