Released just over a month after his passing, George Carlin's It's Bad for Ya features the same material as his final HBO special of the same name, which aired in March of 2008, but it's a different recording from a much smoother performance. Carlin was well aware of his odds at the age of 70 -- which is "69 with a finger up its ass" -- but on first listen it's hard not to get the creeps as the comedian obsesses on death, mostly his own, for the front half of the album. There's no solace to be found as his no-nonsense (and no heaven, either) attitude destroys all things comforting, but it is most definitely hilarious. The great thing about nearing death is that you're allowed to forget things, even the important things ("...but it was your daughter's funeral"). While the computer age means dead friends must be deleted from Outlook's address book, the comedian prefers to create a new folder and make his own digital purgatory. With these right-on-the-mark and very 2008 computer references, Carlin proves he's still up to the time and still incredibly sharp as he skewers the modern-day practice of "child worship." He's disgusted with a world where every kid wins and understands file sharing better than old-school playtime ("Do today's kids even know what a stick is?"). This seamless movement from death to parenting and on to blowhards plus conservative America is the masterful stuff comedy students should study, plus Carlin's overall delivery is sharper and faster than most would believe. Here he casts off the misrepresentation that he's just an old rambling hippie doing an hourlong expletive-filled version of "you kids get off my lawn." You've got to be comfortable with the ideas of no God, kids suck, and that America is corrupt to the core, but if you can sit with that, It's Bad for Ya is about 100 laughs heavier than his previous effort, Life Is Worth Losing. The only thing left to mention is the packaging, which looks cheap and divides the set into way too many tracks before redeeming itself by acknowledging Carlin's death with a Zippy the Pinhead quote, a touch the "anti almost everything" comedian would have loved.
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