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George Carlin's Shelved Pre-9/11 HBO Special Is Finally Available

The material was too inappropriate to release after 9-11.

Malcolm Venable

Comic legend George Carlin was never one to be bound by political correctness. This is the guy, after all, that turned the words you can't say on TV into one of the most praised comedy routines of all time.

But at least one of his routines was too outré for the times: a special he'd taped on Sept. 10, 2001 for HBO. Due to the horrific events that would follow the following day, the unfortunately timed special -- titled "I Kinda Like It When a Lotta People Die" -- was deemed too inappropriate to go public after thousands of people died in his hometown of New York City.

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Carlin died in 2008, and though he did release material that addressed 9-11 entitled Complaints and Grievances, the shelved HBO special never saw the light of day. Until now.

Sirius XM has the audio now, but the special will be released as a download or DVD on Sept.16 at Amazon, iTunes and other outlets. The special is, per the Carlin tradition, a no-holds-barred airing of his thoughts, which care little about societal taboos: the whole premise of the work is about him enjoying disaster footage on TV.

The New York Times calls the special unhinged from his usual tight logic at times, and yet at the same time a kind of precursor to post-Sept.11 comedy. Carlin, of course, was always ahead of his time, a fact he makes evident with his joke about exploding a plane with his flatulence: "You know who gets blamed? Osama bin Laden. The F.B.I. is looking for explosives. They should be looking for minute traces of rice and bok choy."