Stand-up News
March 29, 2022

“George Carlin’s American Dream” by Judd Apatow to Air in May

March 29, 2022

Pamela Sisson

Judd Apatow’s documentary work will be featured in an HBO film that centers around George Carlin. Co-directed with Michael Bonfiglio, the duo will reveal the story behind 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 story reveals itself mainly through his daughter Kelly Carlin and 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.

On “The Last Laugh” podcast with Matt Wilstein, Apatow reveals why Carlin’s work holds up decade after decade.

“It really is a fantastic story about a young guy from a family that struggled. He found a way into show business and then he evolved into this very honest comedian. And the thing that’s most interesting about it is most comedians’ work ages out. It’s just not that funny after a few decades; there’s very little comedy that holds up. And for some reason, his stuff gets better. Everything that he was talking about in the ’90s up to 2007 applies to today. He’s trending on Twitter all the time.”

The two-part documentary features interviews with Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Colbert, Bill Burr, Bette Midler, W. Kamau Bell, Sam Jay, Judy Gold and Jon Stewart.