Tag Archives: Journalism

George Carlin’s Daughter Brings Dad Back to Life in Stage Show

Photo by Sherry Greczmiel

Photo by Sherry Greczmiel

It has been almost seven years since comedian George Carlin died at age 71.

Throughout his illustrious career, he was a Hippy-Dippy Weatherman, he got arrested for wrangling the Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television, he questioned the Government, and lampooned organized religion.

For over 50 years, Carlin toured the world sharing his meticulously-rehearsed comedy with devoted audiences. And while these worshipful fans of today get satisfaction out of just thinking of the man’s quotes, his only child, Kelly Carlin, still recalls him as “Dad”.

So what was it like having one of the twentieth century’s greatest entertainers for a father?

Kelly Carlin has one weekend left of her one-month residency of her one-person Broadway-caliber show about growing up with George as Dad, and mother Brenda.

The show, titled A Carlin Home Companion, will be playing until March 1st at the 130-seat Falcon Theater in Burbank. Audiences will get not just a George tribute, but a multimedia emotional story from Kelly about family, adolescence, dreams, passions, life, humor, and death.

“One of the things is just to be able to give [George Carlin] fans a 360-degree human perspective of my father as a man, as a husband, as a struggling artist who questioned purpose in life,” said Kelly of her show. “People saw this one version of my father on stage and just didn’t know much about him as a human.”

And it wasn’t all glamor and glory for Kelly, having a famous (and in some circles, infamous) Dad and growing up on Los Angeles’ lavish west side. Kelly’s show illustrates that the simplicity of her father’s comedy actually came from a man with a complicated, yet always loving, home life.

In total, Kelly Carlin’s show is the product of four years of writing, memorizing and performing the show at comedy festivals—carefully refining each moment of the 45 years she shared with her father down to a 95-minute masterpiece. Evidently, editing and exquisite stage presence are hereditary virtues.

Kelly, 51, hopes that people can learn through her story that coming to terms with life’s burdens can “take a while,”  and “takes a lot of courage.” She says that the show is “an interesting balance between being on [her] life, and at this point, is an exercise as an artist in creating a world for the audience to live through.”

Along with the stage direction of comedian-filmmaker Paul Provenza (The Aristocrats), A Carlin Home Companion brings to life what Kelly says, is the vulnerability many artists struggle with as they attempt to feel internally safe in the world.

Some of the most well-known comedians today have shown interest in Kelly’s show. In a recent episode of his podcast with Kelly, comedian Todd Glass admitted that he will not only be seeing the show with his production staff, but that he is indeed one of those fans who has elevated George (jocularly) to near-deity status: when Glass feels the need to prove himself, he doesn’t “swear to God”, he swears “to George Carlin”.

When the Los Angeles run of A Carlin Home Companion ends in early March, Kelly plans to take the show national. She will also be releasing what will likely be a detailed and deep memoir in September of this year.

And if you want to share some quality time with Kelly as she shares her tales from the Carlin family, go see A Carlin Home Companion on its final weekend:  http://www.falcontheatre.com/


Jeremy Piven and Deryck Whibley Rock Out in Hollywood

Jeremy Piven Drums, Deryck Whibley Returns to the Stage, & Playboy Playmates Dazzle—All for Charity

Jeremy Piven and Deryck Whibley Rock Out in Hollywood

By Brian Fishbach (@BrianFishbach)

While Horrible Bosses 2 was premiering at the TCL Chinese Theater, the best party in Hollywood last night was rocking just a block away—at a bowling alley of all places.

In support of The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and hosted by Lucky Strike Live at the corner of Hollywood and Highland, the charity event was pure entertainment for the couple-hundred fans, friends, and family of the performers.

The night began with the band Toddsplanet, fronted by H20 founder and touring Offspring guitarist Todd Morse. The 10-piece orchestra featured a talented, energetic brood of musicians specializing in rock-hip-hop-groovy-hybrid cover songs mostly from the late 20th century. As they opened their set with covers of “Back in Black”, “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked”, and the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You”, the bowling alley turned into the House of Blues.

About halfway through the set, Morse called into the crowd for a guest drummer: strutting to the stage in a light-blue blazer came Entourage star Jeremy Piven. After a quick twirling of the drumsticks, Piven and the rest of Toddsplanet rocked a spot-on cover of Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”.

Later on, the bearded Piven would explain that his biggest influences in the drummer’s seat are Cream’s Ginger Baker, and Nirvana’s Dave Grohl.  And it showed.  Piven never missed a beat.

One of the biggest surprises of the night was when Morse called upon Sum 41 lead singer and guitarist Deryck Whibley to join the pumped-up musicians on stage in slaying a passionate rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “Bitch”.

Many in the packed bowling alley knew that seeing the 34-year-old Canadian rocker Whibley on stage was a special experience. Only six months ago, Whibley nearly died of alcohol-induced liver and kidney failure. But now, Whibley looks as healthy as ever on stage doing what he clearly loves most with six strings and amplified distortion.

When asked about how he’s doing, Whibley said with poise and pride, “I feel absolutely great…just making new stuff for Sum 41.”

Although Whibley and Piven were spotted taking pictures together in the middle of the crowd, it is not likely that the Emmy award-winning actor will be filling the vacant drummer job for Sum 41.

The night continued, until a 4-minute dance party erupted with Toddsplanet finishing their set with a cover of OutKast’s “Hey Ya!”

And as if the night needed any more entertainment, several Playboy Bunnies were in attendance. At one point, they joined Toddsplanet on stage for some backup dancing. The scene was fitting, since Todd Morse’s wife Kim Phillips was Playboy’s Miss September 2009.

Punk fans would be delighted to know that also spotted in attendance were legendary stage manager Kenny Leath, former Bad Religion guitarist Greg Hetson, and Sugarcult’s Marko DeSantis. By the end of the night, the Lucky Strike bowling alley no longer felt like the House of Blues. As Morse described, it felt like a bunch of friends having fun and raising money for a great cause by rocking out in their garage.

@BrianFishbach is a writer and comedian studying entertainment journalism at UCLA.


10 Things I Hate About You Cast Reunion Reminisces Like It Was 1999

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Andrew Keegan, and David Krumholtz Reunite for a “10 Things” Screening

In front of a packed house of more than 200 at 11:59 PM last Friday night, actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Krumholtz, Andrew Keegan, and Susan May Pratt came together to celebrate fifteen years of 10 Things I Hate About You–a late-1990s high school comedy based loosely on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

The pre-screening question and answer session featured the slap-happy actors, as well as screenwriters Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith–and it felt like nothing short of a high school reunion of old friends.

On filming, actor David Krumholtz, who flew in from New Jersey just for the reunion, told the audience at the Nuart Theater in West Los Angeles, “the movie was like summer camp…and the group of actors hung out every single night.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who of all the actors at the reunion has achieved the most success since 1999, explained that the camaraderie they exuded while filming “never happens” amongst cast members, which ultimately made for such fantastic chemistry on screen.

The actors, now all in their mid-thirties, shared off-set anecdotes involving gratuitous cannabis use (which eventually became legal in Tacoma, Washington, where 10 Things was filmed), a group-outing to see the Beastie Boys in concert on their Hello Nasty tour, and rehearsing the famous penis-on-face drawing on Krumholtz by Keegan.

Eventually, the talk turned to a discussion of the fellow castmates who weren’t present at the reunion.

Although mention of Julia Styles was sparse, Larisa Oleynik offered a heartfelt email to be read to the crowd explaining her absence–she had lost her wallet and ID the night before in New York City and was unable to board a plane to California.

The most sincere moment of the evening by far was when the actors recalled their experiences with the late Heath Ledger, whose North American film career began with playing the mysteriously hilarious Patrick Verona in 10 Things.

On working with Ledger, Keegan told the crowd that “he was such a magical character, I’ve learned so much and was so inspired, having the opportunity to spend so much time [with Heath].”  Krumholtz shared that even though Heath arrived at the set two-weeks later than the rest of the cast that he “ingratiated himself” to everyone, and was “the de-facto leader of the group.”

Gordon-Levitt related how Ledger was quick to tease on set, and “knew how to play with you in such a way.”

After asking Keegan, clad in a fedora and a cape, about what other 1990s films he wanted to have a cast reunion, he admitted, “just this one, great to see everybody back together, connecting, remembering, experiencing shooting the film.  We had a great time.”  Likely as good of a time as the fans had

All for the price of $11, one fan in the crowd joked that she would have paid $100 to share the room with the teen film idols.

Around thirty minutes after midnight, 10 Things I Hate About You began to play to the cheers and applause of the crowd.  At 2:00 AM, as the credits began to roll, Joseph Gordon-Levitt put on a baseball cap and slyly escaped through the back exit like Batman.  Or in his case, Robin.


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