Cynical Humor Pervades Mann Show

By Denise L. Scott,

When the band White Zombie is being pumped through the lobby speakers of Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, you know it’s not your typical night at the theater.

Fans of a very broad age range got their fill of comedian George Carlin’s cynicism Thursday night with his in-your-face, fast-talking take on life — complete with a lot of swearing, of course.

His opening line, which can’t be repeated here, foreshadowed that the night would be filled with way too many crude jokes about female genitalia and bodily functions.

Carlin’s funniest moments were early on in his one-hour-and-15-minute monologue.

“I drive kind of recklessly, take a lot of chances, don’t repair my vehicle and don’t pay any attention to traffic laws.”

He proceeded to rationalize in a dark and twisted way why he never gets involved in his own traffic accidents, especially if he injures people.

“I have no medical training,” he explained.

About giving a statement to the police: “Surely the people you ran over got a glimpse at the last moment. Let them tell the police.”

He also explored — in specific detail — the fascination people have with things they’ve removed from their own bodies such as “lip crud,” toenail clippings and scabs.

“It’s natural curiosity,” Carlin said. “We all have it.”

Carlin also tried out some new material, which may make it on to his new HBO special later this year.

Some of it is so new that he read from notes his list of people who annoy him. He focused on everything from children (overrated and overvalued) to people who wear visors (“What’s the $#*! point of wearing half a hat?”).

I understand that he’s a nonconformist, but his ranting and raving about rats and snitches and how people should never help the police went on a bit too long. He claims the Unabomber is one of his personal heroes.

Carlin’s take on how to whittle the Ten Commandments down to two was interesting, but much of his schtick was hit or miss for me. He received a sparse standing ovation.

Dennis Blair, one of the show’s two opening acts, took a surly, gravelly-voiced rock star approach. He even brought along a guitar for his entertaining political commentary, singing to the Flintstones theme song melody: “Clin-tons, meet the Clin-tons. They’re a for-ni-ca-ting fam-i-ly.”

I laughed out loud more for Flip Schultz, who contorts his body and face in a Jim Carrey-esque fashion and won over the audience with his lighthearted commentary about pop music and reality television shows.

The highlight of his act was his impression of a slick Italian-American recounting in a television interview how a shark pulled him out of his fishing boat. His tale — with self-edited swearwords as if the TV show silenced them — were more entertaining than Carlin’s constant profane utterances.