The late George Carlin’s five revolutionary decades in comedy get the in-depth documentary treatment in the new trailer for Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio, George Carlin’s American Dream. The two-part doc is set to premiere May 20 on HBO Max.
The clip offers a condensed overview of the doc’s sprawling scope. It touches on Carlin’s comedic influences and penchant for courting righteous controversy, as he did with his infamous “seven dirty words” routine. Then it delves into Carlin’s personal life, especially his close relationship with his mother, and how fame and substance abuse both upended that bond and derailed Carlin’s career, too.
The clip also highlights Carlin’s incredible knack for reinventing himself and, by extension, stand-up comedy. “George is still relevant,” W. Kamau Bell puts it. “He changed comedy three or four times, and he’s still talking to us.”
George Carlin’s American Dream will feature interviews with an array of Carlin’s peers and admirers, including Bell, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Patton Oswalt, Bill Burr, Bette Midler, and Chris Rock. It will also include contributions from Carlin’s daughter, Kelly, his manager Jerry Hamza, second wife Sally Wade, and his late brother, Patrick. The interviews will be mixed with an array of archival material, including plenty of previously unreleased video, photography, audio recordings, letters, and diary entries.