George Carlin’s American Dream, a two-part documentary directed by Judd Apatow (HBO’s “Girls,” “The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling”) and Michael Bonfiglio (HBO’s “May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers”), will debut on HBO and HBO Max on May 20, 2022.
The documentary chronicles the life and work of legendary comedian George Carlin. Dubbed the “dean of counterculture comedians,” Carlin’s career spanned half a century during which he headlined 14 HBO comedy specials and appeared on “The Tonight Show” over 130 times, constantly evolving with the times and staying sharply resonant up until his death in 2008 and beyond. Carlin’s ability to zoom in on societal ills has proven eerily prophetic and much of his work resonates today with alarming (and still hilarious) clarity. The documentary examines a cultural chameleon who is remembered as one of the most influential stand-up comics of all time.
George Carlin’s American Dream tracks Carlin’s rise to fame and opens an intimate window into Carlin’s personal life, including his childhood in New York City, his long struggle with drugs that took its toll on his health, his brushes with the law, his loving relationship with Brenda, his wife of 36 years, and his second marriage to Sally Wade. Intimate interviews with Carlin and Brenda’s daughter, Kelly Carlin, offer unique insight into her family’s story and her parents enduring love and partnership.
The doc features a treasure trove of never-before-seen archival material including archival films, photos, audio recordings, letters, and diaries and interviews with Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Colbert, Bill Burr, Bette Midler, W. Kamau Bell, Sam Jay, Judy Gold, Jon Stewart, and others. Joining them to share their memories of Carlin are daughter Kelly Carlin, manager Jerry Hamza, second wife Sally Wade, and others.