The BEST Episodes of George Carlin HBO Specials
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Sep 7, 2020
Spanning 31 years (1977-2008), George Carlin performed 14 original standup performances for Home Box Office. Beginning with 1977's 'On Location: George Carlin at USC' and ending with 2008's 'It's Bad for Ya', Carlin's sometimes taboo material entertained millions of people.
#1 - Life Is Worth Losing
Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired Nov 5, 2005
Life Is Worth Losing is the thirteenth HBO special by American comedian George Carlin. It was recorded simultaneously with the live broadcast on 5 November 2005. This was his final special recorded from the Beacon Theater, and it is the first project Carlin had undertaken since completing drug rehabilitation in 2005. Early on in the program, Carlin proudly announces that he was 341 days sober at the time of the recording, and that 2006 will be his 50th year in show business.
#2 - You Are All Diseased
Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired Feb 6, 1999
You Are All Diseased is the title for the 1999 HBO live broadcast stand-up special with comedian George Carlin, recorded on February 6, 1999 at the Beacon Theater in New York City and released on CD in May of that year.
#3 - Complaints and Grievances
Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired Nov 17, 2001
Complaints and Grievances is the twelfth HBO stand-up special by comedian George Carlin. Broadcast live from the Beacon Theater in New York City on 17 November 2001 it includes Includes “9/11 Solutions,” “Traffic Accidents,” “Things That Come Off Of Your Body,” “People Who Oughtta Be Killed (18 types),” and “Why We Don’t Need Ten Commandments.” The shows working title was purportedly I Kinda Like It When a Lot of People Die, but it was renamed following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Another possible title was The Great American Cattle Drive, according to Carlin during an interview with Coast to Coast AM in the 1999.
#4 - Jammin' In New York
Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Apr 24, 1992
Jammin' In New York is George Carlin's eighth special to be seen on HBO, recorded on April 24 and 25, 1992 at the Paramount Theater in New York City. Topics include the war in the Persian Gulf, similarities and differences among average Americans, and the language used at airports.
#5 - On Location: George Carlin at USC
Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 1, 1977
On Location: George Carlin at USC is Carlin's first ever HBO special, Recorded during the Summer of 1977 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. This unique taping lasted 85 minutes. He had also explained to the audience that before this special came about, that he never did a show for home consumption or reproduction.
#6 - On Location: George Carlin at Phoenix
Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Jul 23, 1978
On Location: George Carlin at Phoenix (sometimes listed as George Carlin: Again!) is American comedian George Carlin's second HBO stand-up television special. It was filmed in the round at The Celebrity Theater in 1978 in Phoenix, Arizona. The show was first broadcast on July 23, 1978.Carlin refers to this HBO broadcast as a way to enter back into the popular eye with a mass audience with visual adding to the material.
#7 - Carlin at Carnegie
Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 12, 1982
Carlin at Carnegie is George Carlin's third special to be seen on HBO, recorded at Carnegie Hall, New York City in 1982, released in 1983. Most of the material comes from his A Place for My Stuff, the album released earlier that same year. Unlike the first two, this special was edited down to an hour and routines from the same show like "A Place for My Stuff" and "Baseball and Football" do not appear in this special in contradiction to many internet descriptions. The final performance of "Seven Dirty Words," his last recorded performance of the routine, features Carlin's updated list.
#8 - Playin' with Your Head
Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired May 2, 1986
Playin' with Your Head is Carlin's fifth HBO stand-up concert special. In the HBO airing there is a short skit before and after the show in which he flees from three men seeking an envelope in his possession before going on stage. The identities of his pursuers are unknown: the credits before the skit merely dubs them "The Bad Guys." Carlin tears the envelope up after the performance, never revealing its contents or why his pursuers wanted it. It could be speculated that the entire skit was relevant to the title of the album. That is to say that it was only designed to play with the audience's head and didn't actually have to do with the concert at all. At the end of the closing credits, the envelope is seen back on the table.
#9 - Doin' It Again
Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 20, 1990
Recorded in 1990 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the opening to the HBO special features flashbacks to all previous HBO specials. The special opens with a scene in which Carlin is talking about his past specials to an unseen narrator, in the style of a patient speaking to a psychologist or counselor.
#10 - Carlin on Campus
Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Apr 19, 1984
Carlin on Campus is the fourth HBO special by American comedian George Carlin recorded April 18–19, 1984. The show features mostly new material. The opening features Carlin in Catholic School with a short version of "Class Clown" and animation shorts. The ending features Carlin playing piano to an original song called "Armadillo Blues."
#11 - What Am I Doing in New Jersey?
Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Aug 15, 1988
What Am I Doing in New Jersey? is American stand-up comedian George Carlin's sixth Home Box Office stand-up concert special, originally broadcast in 1988.
#12 - Back in Town
Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired Mar 29, 1996
Back in Town is George Carlin's ninth HBO special. It was broadcast live on March 29th 1996. This was also his first of many performances at the Beacon Theater in New York City. Includes, "Abortion," "Capital Punishment," "Expressions I Question," and "Free-floating Hostility."
#13 - 40 Years of Comedy
Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired Feb 27, 1997
George Carlin's Tenth HBO special, "George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy," was taped and aired from Wheeler Theater, Aspen, Colorado, as part of Aspen Comedy Arts Festival on February 27 1997. It Contains a 15-minute segment of career television clips, interview of George conducted by comedian Jon Stewart, and two new stand-up bits: "Moe the Dog Fucks Vern the Cat," and "American Bullshit." Nominated for two Emmy awards, wins two CableACE awards.
#14 - It's Bad for Ya
Season 1 - Episode 14 - Aired Mar 1, 2008
It's Bad for Ya is the fourteenth and final HBO stand-up comedy special by stand-up comedian George Carlin. It was televised live on March 1, 2008 on HBO, less than four months before he died of heart failure at age 71. The album is the follow-up to the 2005 HBO special Life is Worth Losing. Carlin worked on this material since ending his "Life is Worth Losing" Tour. The working title for this show was The Parade of Useless Bullshit. Filmed in the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, California, the show's stage behind Carlin was designed to represent a cozy living room theme. The CD was released July 29, and the DVD and Blu-ray Disc on November 25. It's Bad For Ya received the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album, awarded posthumously.